Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dreaming about Nursing

That's not the dreaming in the sense of, "I'd really love to go to nursing school and change careers" type of dreaming.  I had plenty of years of that.

Rather, its the "wake up in a cold sweat and gratefully gasp as waves of relief flood your body because you realized it was just a dream/nightmare" type of dream.

Yep, that's what I awoke to this morning. And forget trying to get back to sleep after that!

I had a nightmare about administering medications. 

One of my worst fears as a nurse, perhaps even "the" worst fear I have, is making medication errors.  They say its inevitable that every nurse makes med errors, and to be wary of those nurses who claim they've never made one, as they're the scariest ones, as they most likely don't realize their errors. But I digress.

In my nightmare, I was being a completely careless nurse. It was a busy nursing station, and the patients were coming up to it go get their meds (as happens in the psych ward at times, with certain patients). I was filling in or something, but it was definitely a new unit to me in the dream. I was chatting with one guy as I prepared his meds. Then I gave him his meds and that was that.


Except shortly thereafter, another guy came to the window and asked for his meds. I asked him his name, and then realized that those were the meds I'd just administered to the first guy -- whom I hadn't even asked his name, let alone checked his wrist band AND asked him his birthday.  Oh. My. God. (This was when the panic welled up in me, even in real life as this dream unfolded).

Then, to make matters even worse, when I told the nursing manager about my error, she asked me what meds I'd given the guy, and I didn't know!!!  I mean, I knew what the names of the pills were, and how much I'd given, but I had no idea if they were heart medication pills, or blood thinners, or antibiotics, or what - you get the idea.  This is how nursing jobs and licences are lost, and even worse, possibly lives.

I woke up around this point.  Heart pounding. I told hubby about it, still breathing gasps of relief that it wasn't real.  His comment was, "At least you've gotten this mistake out of the way, and learned from it."  Lol!

I still cringe when I think back to that nightmare.

The rights of medication administration have been drilled into our heads for awhile now.

The nurse must ensure he/she's got/giving the RIGHT:

route (of administration)
reason (for giving that particular medication)
documentation (after the medication is given).

I will definitely ensure that such a mistake ONLY happens in my dreams -- or rather, my nightmares.

My first career definitely did not come with this type of stress and responsibility...

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