Saturday, June 30, 2012

GNIE: Anecdotal notes = Get out of jail, free pass

I hope my previous blog entry about failing at clinical does not scare my GNIE-related readers unnecessarily.

If anything, here is a secret that I want to share. Those who have played Monopoly before would know of the "Get out of jail, free" cards. Well, when it comes to GNIE clinical, the anecdotal notes is our "Get out of jail, free" pass. 

Given that it is inevitable that we will make mistakes at clinical, what matters then is what we do when we make a mistake.
  • If we become aware of our own mistake made while at clinical, we can save the situation by reporting the situation immediately to the CI, the staff nurse and other relevant personnel. Do it with an appropriate attitude (i.e. state the facts, don't push the blame away, accept our part in causing the problem). Then discuss with the CI interventions to correct the impact of the mistake and follow-up on them. Finally, chart the incident accordingly in the nursing notes, and incident report if required.
  • If we only become aware of our mistake when prompted by the CI, admit to our mistake immediately with an appropriate attitude and take appropriate actions (see above).
  • If we only become aware of our mistake during post-conference discussions, then admit to our mistake immediately with an appropriate attitude (see above).
In all of the above situations, take note of the mistakes made, the corrective actions taken if any, and any ideas on how to avoid a repeat in future. Document all of that into the anecdotal notes under the Responsibility and Accountability section (note: link has been disabled). By doing so, we can turn a "negative" (i.e. mistake made) into a "positive" (i.e. we are responsible and accountable for our mistakes made).

You can see from examples from my anecdotal notes that I have used the above successfully. As far as I know, some other classmates have also used this approach successfully. To quote a classmate of mine, "For any mistake that I've made, big or small mistake, I will document it in my anecdotal notes. Then she is ok." [That is, the CI is ok with the student's competency.]

That said, the anecdotal notes are not a free pass to keep repeating the same mistakes. It will not work if we declare our plans to avoid re-occurence but do not follow up on it. We owe it to ourselves and our patients to pull up our socks and ensure that we improve.


  1. Hi Winking Doll! I'm so happy to discover this blog site as it gave me a lot of insight on the GNIE program. I have just started with the program last May 2013. I was actually searching google for sample GNIE Kwantlen anecdotal notes as we just finished our 2-day clinicals (1st week) yesterday. Can you help me with my first one please? It is due tomorrow and I don't know how to start it much less make the rest of it. Thanks!

    1. Hi AnGeLJaDe,

      What to write for anecdotal and the format varies from instructor to instructor. I like one approach from a clinical instructor which pretty much follows our competency assessment key. Examples of anecdotal notes:

      1. Responsibility and Accountability

      1a. When doing for the first time, I requested supervision from my nurse.

      1b. I discussed my nursing interventions with before implementation.

      2. Specialized Body of Knowledge

      2a. I learned about from my classmates during post-conference.

      2b. Using open questions and active listening, I supported the patient's .

      3. Competent Application of Knowledge

      3a. I collected both objective and subjective data from the patient. E.g.

      3b. The patient was . Thus, I took .

      4. Code of Ethics

      4a. I informed the nurse that I cannot perform yet because we have not been assessed on that task yet.

      4b. I respected my patient's choice of and proceeded as per his/her wishes.

      5. Provision of Service to the Public

      5a. I communicated with on patient's .

      5b. I explained to my classmates how to .

      6. Self-regulation

      6a. I took breaks from work as appropriate to maintain my fitness to practice throughout the shift.

      6b. I revised on to care for a patient with .

      7. Uses English Language Effectively

      7a. I read and understood patient's information from the Kardex and Chart.

      7b. I introduced myself in English to .

      That said, DO NOT copy-and-paste the above as-is for your anecdotal report or you'd be breaking the plagiarism rule (and the consequences are serious for that, more so than submitting a badly done anecdotal notes).

      Cheers, WD.