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How to Recover from Nursing Mistakes

Nursing -

How to Recover from Nursing Mistakes

Every nurse will tell you that nursing errors are common, and some can be fatal. Therefore, it is important to always learn from your mistakes as a nurse and avoid them as much as possible.

Not only do these mistakes cause a lot of anxiety on the nurse, but they could mean the end of a career. Here are some common nursing mistakes

  • Forgetting to turn the bed alarm on, especially for a high-risk patient
  • Programming the IV pump incorrectly, which can cause an over or under dose
  • Not reporting changes in a patient’s condition
  • Inaccurate documentation
  • Medication errors

5 Tips for Dealing with Nursing Mistakes

It would help if you remembered that nurses make mistakes too, and when nurses make mistakes, a lot can go wrong.

But, when you make a mistake, you need to find ways of correcting or handling it. Here are some tips on how you can do this;


  • Understand that its bound to happen

  • As a nurse, you will have to understand that you are bound to make nursing mistakes at some point in your career. It may be a big mistake or a small one, but regardless, it will happen, so be careful at all times and prepare yourself when it does.


  • Recognize it and address it

  • When a nursing mistake occurs, do not try to shift blame or hide it. It may be hard to admit you have made a mistake and are at fault, but this is a test of your character.

    After the mistake, follow the proper channels and report it immediately. Then, learn from the error, and try to move on being more careful. Remember that you are not the first or the last, and most importantly, YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.


  • Be proactive

  • When nurses make mistakes, it’s advisable to use the mistake and learn from it so they do not make it again.

    This could save lives, and remember that you are handling people’s health, which means that lives are at risk when mistakes happen. Learn from it, and ensure that you never repeat it.


  • Some mistakes could have positive outcomes

  • A mistake is a mistake, regardless of how you look at it, but some errors could result in a positive outcome.

    For example, when a doctor asks for an x-ray of a patient’s arm, and the technician reads it as a chest X-ray, which is then produced, later to find that there was a tumor in the chest, this is a mistake, but one that has a positive outcome.


  • Don’t bottle up your feelings

  • When nurses make mistakes, it’s common to close up and go on an emotional roller-coaster. You feel depressed, fearful, and inadequate.

    Do not allow these mistakes to end up affecting your work. As we said above, nursing errors happen, and it’s essential to accept them, learn from them, and try to move on with your career.

    All the best as you deal with this challenging occurrence of nursing.