The next day, as I prepared my medication tray with shaking hands, two physicians sat at the nurses’ station, talking too loudly as they discussed the medication error and wondered which nurse had made it. Overhearing them, I turned to confess, feeling like a marked woman. They muttered something in my direction, shook their heads, and quickly returned to their charting.
That’s an excerpt from fairly late in “Roger’s Angst,” the Reflections essay in the April issue of AJN. It explores the crippling shame, anxiety, and self-doubt that good nurses can feel when they make mistakes. And it suggests that no one, however conscientious they may be, is free from error in a long career—though few ever reveal their little secrets, even if we might all gain from the knowledge. A touchy subject, to say the least; we hope you’ll read the entire essay and consider weighing in with your own experience. Anonymous comments are, as always, fine.—JM, senior editor/blog editor