Nurses put endless pressure on themselves never to make a mistake — but the fact of the matter is nurses are human. And of course, dangerous staffing ratios, a lack of breaks and extended shift lengths increase the likelihood of errors, especially for someone new to the job.
It’s impossible to prevent every single mistake, but when you’re learning a new floor or working with novice nurses, being aware of these common errors, per NurseJournal.org, might help you catch them before they happen.
Even experienced nurses aren’t immune to giving the wrong dose or an incorrect medication with a similar name, or even mixing up patients. Medication errors injure 1.5 million Americans every year, and an estimated 30 percent of these incidents are related to medication administration, most of which is done by nurses.
Infections account for roughly 99,000 deaths in hospitals every year, so the best way to prevent these is to understand the importance of — and always practice — good hygiene. In addition to following standard precautions, you should also master aseptic techniques, cleaning and disinfection, as well as strategies for preventing infection.
New nurses often call for help from a physician without being ready to present all the basics of their patient’s case. Beforehand, think hard about what you want to discuss with the physician and what you hope to gain from the conversation. Then, have at your disposal: the patient’s diagnosis, allergies, what medications they’re taking, and the latest labs and vitals.