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Common mistakes made by new nurses

Hospitals, emergency rooms and rehabilitation centers are safe havens for the injured. It’s easy to imagine doctors in capes, saving lives and doing good in the community. In general, this truly is the case. Doctors rely on nurses to provide high-quality care for patients 24/7. While that’s a tall order, it’s part of the profession.

It can be easy to forget that nurses are only human. And as humans, we make mistakes. New nurses might be more prone to such miscalculations.

It’s important to be aware of common mistakes made by new nurses, such as:

  1. Medication errors. Medication mishaps happen to even the most experienced nurses, although new nurses are especially susceptible. Regardless, the mistake is still serious. New nurses oftentimes buckle under the extreme pressure hospitals and emergency rooms present. Medication errors occur in a variety of different ways, including:
    • Distributing wrong medication
    • Dispensing wrong dose
    • Giving medication to the wrong patient
    • Failing to monitor the patient
  2. Documentation errors. An important part of a nurse’s job is recording patient information. Nurses with less experience oftentimes document inaccurately, or don’t document enough. There are a few examples of charting mistakes, such as:
    • Failure to document medication, both dispensed and discontinued
    • Failure to record drug reactions
    • Failure to record nursing actions
    • Recording on the wrong chart
  3. Infection issues. Infection is a common problem in many hospitals. Nurses are on the frontline when minimizing the risk for infections. However, new nurses can oftentimes practice negligence when it comes to cleaning, disinfecting and other preventative measures.
  4. Patient falls. Nurses typically do rounds, checking on patients who have a high-risk for falls.These types of rounds should be done hourly during the day, and every two hours at night. It’s also important to make sure patients have their belongings nearby, so they are less likely to reach or get up for their items. This type of hospital etiquette is practiced by experienced nurses, but might be a new concept for student nurses.

Any of these mistakes can result in severe injury or fatality. Patients are put in vulnerable, sometimes dangerous, situations when under the care of new professionals. It’s not uncommon in the industry. As always, it’s important to put careful consideration into the hospitals you and your family choose to utilize, and also check for infection rates.

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Haberkorn & Associates
2055 Woodside Rd., Suite 155
Redwood City, CA 94061

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