Your most memorable “oops” moments

Shutterstock | Pathdoc
Shutterstock | Pathdoc

Everybody makes mistakes. Of course, when a nurse makes a mistake, it can sometimes be a matter of life or death. Luckily, most blunders are minor, and after a few days of nightmarish flashbacks, you’re able to brush them off and carry on. Maybe just not quite as calmly as before.

Since we it might be awkward and depressing to ask you about your most memorable-but-not-so-comical mistakes, we put out a request via our Scrubs Facebook page for the slip-ups that made you LOL. Go figure—they made us LOL, too. Apparently, that one time when you said, “Someday, I’ll laugh about this…” you were talking about now.

Want to join in on the fun? Check out some of our favorite responses from your fellow nurses (and share your own!) below:

1. “I was in nursing school doing clinical at the hospital. My instructor was with me when a post-op patient came up to the floor. We were moving him from OR gurney to room bed. My instructor was on the side of draw sheet, but I forgot to put the patient’s Foley on top of his body to transfer and the catheter pulled out of him. From the tension of the pull, it slapped in my instructor’s face—feces and all. Needless to say, I was scared I was going to fail that clinical course, LOL. But she was a good sport and I am happy to say I passed!” —Darla H

2. “We had a farm worker come in one day to the trauma unit with a very bad hand injury. His index and middle finger fell off right in the ER. We were very busy, so I had taken the fingers, put them into a sterile bag and then put them into a pocket of my scrubs. Later that evening when I got home, I just crashed on my couch, and my mother asked me if I could move my car out of the driveway. I told her the keys were in my scrubs in my room—all of a sudden, I hear this bloodcurdling scream. She had picked up the bag in the pocket with the mangled fingers in it! I had completely forgotten about them!” —Elizabeth J.

3. “Almost gave a patient’s shot to her husband who was sleeping in her bed while she went potty.” —Tracilyn H.

4. “Put a demented, not verbal patient on the toilet with the standing lift. Left her for a few minutes for privacy, got called away and then went for lunch. Forty-five minutes later I went back to her with a big toilet ring on her bottom. Poor thing. I may have found some ice cream for her after that.” —Tracy V.

5. “A dr once wrote for two gallons of GoLytely before a colonoscopy. Gave a pt one gallon and called the pharmacy for the second gallon. He asked me to call the doctor to verify his written order. So I did, and apparently he meant to have written 1/2 gallon…poor guy.” —Keith B.

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3 Responses to Your most memorable “oops” moments

  1. carolslee1949

    A number of years ago, I was instructed to have my mostly Spanish-speaking patient to sign permits for surgery and receiving blood products. This was back in the day before we had to explain everything to the patient. All I had to do was get signatures. So, in my best fractured Spanish I explained that I needed him to sign the “permitto por operation”. He understood and signed. Then I told him he needed to sign the “permitto por Sangria”. At that moment, my supervisor, who is fluent in Spanish, walked by the patient’s room and heard this. She hurried in and spoke with the patient and then explained to me my error, that “Sangria” was an alcoholic beverage. She then obtained the signature. The word for blood was very similar. A little later, she relayed that the patient did understand the difference and said he wanted his “Sangria” before they put him to sleep! We all had a good laugh over this.

  2. Serena White

    During my training, we were assigned to an old persons wing in the hospital. My fellow student and I got up Mrs jones to walk her down to the dining room for lunch. We were helping her with a walking frame. She started to tell us that she needed to go to the toilet. We thought we were ok as she had her depends adult diaper on. The next minute there was a flood of warm pee splashing in our shoes, not finished, next there was small round balls of poo being left behind down the hallway. Bugger, someone hadn’t put any underwear on our little lady. Man did we feel bad, funny story now though.

  3. Katrn409

    I still feel kind of bad about this joke we played on nursing students. There was a patient that died in the night. In the morning when the students arrived and took their assignments we sent one into the dead patients room to get vitals. I am sure you can imagine the look on her face. One time a student actually came out of the dead patients room with a set of vitals written down on paper. We didn’t make her feel bad.