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Don't Abandon the Second Victims of Medication Errors" (February, 2012)* brought back some nightmares. Six years ago, while mentoring a senior nursing student, I was involved in an error that caused a patient to go into respiratory arrest. A code was called and he was successfully resuscitated. I was embarrassed and frightened. Over the next 4 weeks, I was removed from the work schedule, had to complete a medication inservice through my state board, and was cut off from all staff. I had to beg human resources for the employee psychiatric services I was entitled to. I did get to visit my patient and explain what happened. He actually forgave me.
Then, after being on staff at this facility for 30 years, I was let go. I asked for a meeting with my manager and the human resources manager to ask why-this was my first medication error in 30 years. The reasons given to me were that I embarrassed the facility in light of the nursing student I was mentoring, and I'd probably set the facility up for a lawsuit from the patient and family. There was never a lawsuit.
I'm now working again but not in that healthcare system. I still have nightmares and worry about the patient.
I just read the article "Huddling for Optimal Care Outcomes" (December, 2011).* The author suggests choosing a central location, such as outside of the nurses' station, for team huddles. I think this location risks breaching patient confidentiality. Visitors, patients, and healthcare professionals who aren't on a "need to know" basis may inadvertently overhear confidential information about the patient.
As an RN, I've seen medical data left on computer screens because a nurse or physician didn't minimize or close the file. When I was recently in the hospital as a patient, I saw several medical records lying open with names, Social Security numbers, and diagnoses on display for all to see.
Let's all work together to keep personal information personal.
This letter was posted on Nursing2012's facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/NsgJournal/174668352550904
-NAME WITHHELD BY REQUEST
* Individual subscribers can access articles free online at http://www.nursing2012.com. [Context Link]
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