Last week I was involved in an incident that left me physically injured and extremely shaken up.
For obvious confidentiality related reasons, I won’t go into much detail but it left me thinking that you can learn as much from the bad experiences as the good.
Of course when something bad happens in practice, the learning benefits of it aren’t immediately obvious. I was pretty shaken up and it took me a few hours to really digest what had happened.
My initial thought was, maybe I’m not cut out for this
My experience really highlighted the importance of reflective practice. I am confident that I did everything the way I was supposed to, but thinking about how the experience affected me was also an important part of reflecting.
My initial thought was “maybe I’m not cut out for this job after all because I can’t cope when things like this happen.” But when I sat down and thought about it, I realised that my reaction was proportionate with what happened. Anybody would be worried after a bad experience at work, but the most important thing is that I can think about what happened and learn from it.
Accurate record-keeping is always important, but especially when there is a incident in practice.
I found this difficult as I was feeling so stressed, but after reflecting on what happened I was able to report it appropriately. This isn’t just for the safety of staff, but for patients as well. Detailing the events of things that happened can prevent the same things from happening in future.
Finally, as well as reporting the incident, reporting your concerns is key.
There is a difference in how these are recorded. Incident forms are written from a factual perspective to record what happened. Reporting concerns is what you feel was wrong with the lead up to the events. I have blogged about this before and Nursing Times are running their Speak Out Safely Campaign about reporting concerns in practice.
After being in a particularly emotive situation it was so difficult for me to approach staff and tell them my concerns about what had happened, but I knew that it was important.
Of course I hope that I have as few bad experiences in practice as possible, but I also see the value in them and in how they can improve my practice in the future. Has anybody else experienced similar events they felt they have grown from?
Natalie Moore is the mental health branch student nurse editor for Student Nursing Times.