Medical errors as a nurse practitioner: 7 ways to continue work

Medical errors as a nurse practitioner

Nurse practitioners are not immune to medical errors.

If you have been in healthcare long enough, you have likely experienced medical errors as a nurse practitioner or had a near miss event. While some medical errors can be serious and cause adverse effects to the patient, many medical errors are smaller and not directly impact the patient.

Experiencing medical errors as a nurse practitioner or a near miss of any size can be detrimental to nurse practitioners. Healthcare providers are taught to “Do no harm” to our patients. While patient safety is of highest importance, this thought process can lead to perfectionism. Nurse practitioners struggle with the thought process that they can never make a mistake.

Negative effects of medical errors as a nurse practitioner

While nurse practitioners should use safety tools and caution when it comes to medical care, we have to remember we are human. We cannot do everything perfectly. This perfectionist thought process can make  nurse practitioners susceptible to burnout . Causing a medical error or near miss not only affects our patients but also ourselves as nurse practitioners. It is difficult for the nurse practitioner to feel confident or fulfilled after a medical error.

There are so many negative thoughts that can limit nurse practitioner to return to care of patients. A medical error or near miss can create a form of trauma or  second victim syndrome . Nurse practitioners tend to internalize this trauma leading to many other issues. The  unhealed trauma  can cause a multitude of physical, mental, and emotional stress on nurse practitioners. Experiencing medical errors as a nurse practitioner can contribute to nurse practitioner burnout.

Negative effects of unhealed trauma

Negative impacts of unhealed trauma include: low self-esteem, lack of self-love, giving more to others than yourself, toxic or unequal relationships, lack of healthy boundaries, needing external validation from others, and much more. The fact is that many nurse practitioners do not realize they struggle with unhealed trauma.

The trauma can come from many different places. And it is not only traumatic events such as a code blue or severe MVA in the ED. There are many other forms of trauma nurse practitioners experience. For example, taking on a patient’s own personal stressors, hardships, and health concerns. Also the nurse practitioner’s own thoughts about if they missed a diagnosis or chose the correct treatment plan.

Overcoming trauma: medical errors as a nurse practitioner

But how do nurse practitioners move on after being involved with a medical error? How do APRNs regain confidence and fulfillment after experiencing medical errors as a nurse practitioner?

Yanira Crespo is a trauma survivor turned trauma informed coach for health professionals. Yanira understands first hand the negative impacts that healthcare trauma can have on nurse practitioners. Yanira helps nurse practitioners to process and work through their personal and professional trauma. Yanira can help those who have experienced medical errors as a nurse practitioner.

As Yanira teaches, it is important for nurse practitioners to remember that we are humans and need to put ourselves first. Nurse practitioners need to process and work through their trauma. It may be affecting their personal and professional lives more than they realized.

Here are Yanira’s  7 Ways to Continue Patient Care after Medical Errors. 

When I was first introduced to Yanira’s work, I was blown away by Yanira’s deep understanding and compassion for helping healthcare professionals overcome their unhealed trauma. Yanira truly understands what nurse practitioners are going through and has helped countless healthcare providers heal the trauma and continue on with their life.

Here is more information about Yanira Crespo!

“Over 20 years ago, I began experiencing burnout and suffering from a debilitating illness leaving me wheelchair bound. My mental and physical health was deteriorating and I was not taking care of myself. The needs of everyone came before my own. Through continuous over giving, I gave to the point of depletion, resulting in the struggle to take care of myself.

That was my wakeup call to delve deeper into the source of my burnout. I soon discovered I was suffering from C-PTSD due to deep rooted unhealed trauma. As I began to face my trauma and heal, my body and mind healed too. I began to experience inner peace and learned how to create balance at work and in my personal life. This ignited a passion to help those suffering from trauma; I became a Trauma Informed Coach and Holistic Practitioner.

Through my journey in helping others heal, I began to help nurse practitioners and discovered how much my experiences related to theirs. They were suffering from the same traumas and burnout I had suffered from in the past. This led to creating a 3-month program designed to heal deep rooted trauma related to burnout. The program is customized to each individual and designed to progress beyond trauma and overcome burnout. The result is quality patient care, emotional regulation, healthier relationships, and a balanced work and home life.”

And if you would like more information about who to overcome medical errors as a nurse practitioner or healing trauma as a nurse practitioner, checkout the bonus section of  Burnout Resolution for Nurse Practitioners , there is an exclusive training by Yanira! In Unhealed Trauma in Nurse Practitioners, Yanira discusses:

  • Negative effects of unhealed trauma
  • Benefits of processing unhealed trauma
  • And shares a meditation to help NPs heal the trauma

Check out Burnout Resolution for Nurse Practitioners for more information!

And don’t forget to read Yanira’s blog post:  7 Ways to Continue Patient Care after Medical Errors. 

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, overcome nurse practitioner burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at

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