Crying?

  1. Hi all. Since I am a pretty sentimental person, I know this will have to happen quite a few times in my career. No not crying because of management or co-workers, but with patients. Have you ever cried with a patient? Do you think it is unprofessional? I'm just wondering because it seems like a grey area to me, where does the professional/unprofessional line cross.
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   nurscee
    I suppose it depends on whether or not you shed a compassionate tear (not a bad thing to do) or disolve into boo-hooing (bad).
  4. by   RNfromMN
    My first CNA job, I worked at a center with severely mentally disabled children & adults. Among the hundreds of residents that lived there were 2 that come to mind regaarding your post. One was a gentleman in his 30s, non-verbal, mostly just sat in his wheelchair all day, maybe played with his toys once in awhile. He was a big guy, just like a big teddy-bear...never talked, always cooperative when he had to be changed/bathed/dressed. We also had a little 1 1/2 year old we took care of. When I first met him, I thought..."Wow! What a great baby - he never cries!" After working with this little guy for awhile, I realized that yeah, he never cries, never laughs, never smiles. It absolutely broke my heart. One day in the feeding room, I remember looking over at these 2 residents - they were sitting next to eachother, the big gentle giant in his wheelchair, & that little baby sitting next to him in his stroller & it just hit me...one day, this tiny little baby is going to be exactly like this big guy. I cried every day for 2 weeks when I first started that job. One of the positive endings to this story is that after working at this place for awhile, I would see changes in that little baby. He started to smile and even laugh once in awhile. And fuss when he wouldn't get his way And it was because of the therapy we were providing him!

    I don't know if this story helps or not...I absolutely don't think it's unprofessional to cry with patients. It shows you have heart. I'd certainly rather have a nurse that was even a little over emotional than one that was :stone.

    The only problem I could see people having with crying is if a nurse is doing it inappropriately. Like, a pt gets diagnosed with cancer or something, & the nurse busts out in tears before the pt's even had a chance to react. Or if you're spending way too much time in one pts room & neglecting other duties.

    You're human. It's a natural reaction & shows you care.
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Yes I have cried with patients in very emotional times. I think it's fine as long as I don't make it about ME.
  6. by   sirI
    Same here. I've cried with my patients.
  7. by   Creamsoda
    In the right situation it is totally apropriate. There are certain patients you make conections with, and if they end up passing away, and you have a good rapport with the family, when they do pass its very sad, and ok to cry. I know we have one elderly man on our unit, still a full code, but hes been through a lot, likely wont make it out of hospital, but theres still a fighting chanc that he may. When I come on shift and hes my patient he will tell me "boy am i glad to see you" and he has a big smile and ill tell him the same. He doesnt want to die yet, expecially because its his 50'th wedding aneversay soon, but I wouldnt be surprised that once that passes, he may too. And I know now that if im with him if it happend, I will be a crying mess garunteed, and it takes alot to get me to cry. Im pretty sure the whole unit will be the same way becaus everyone just loves him and we all want him to get better so he can at least go home and spend time with his family. All he wants to do is pass away peacefully at home when the time comes.

    Cher
  8. by   RN BSN 2009
    Ok, sorry I wasn't more detailed! I am not the kind of person that will go out into an all out falling on the floor tragic crying... But I cant help but shed a tear when I watch some stories on discovery health or shows like that --
  9. by   RN BSN 2009
    I was thinking, oh wow... that person on TV, if that was my patient I probably would have cried too... few tears, red eyes... Hmm. And I am referring to the people you wouldn't even really know all that well or be close to.
  10. by   live_crow
    I am the sobbiest person ever watching TV shows etc (I cry at anything and everyone laughs at me!), however I'm not like that at work. When you're working, you're concentrating on your job, and you don't often think about the "sadness" of the situation until later (unlike when you're uninterrupted, watching TV).

    I've cried a few times - the first time a patient died and I had to do her care (a lovely little old lady at my nursing home), and the first time I witnessed brain death tests on a young man in a trauma ICU (such a waste).

    Being human is not a bad thing, as long as it doesn't interfere with your care. As SmilingBluEyes said, as long as it's not about YOU. You can leave the room and shed a tear.
  11. by   Annor
    Yes , I have cried...and I will cry again.
  12. by   nurseangel47
    I'll never forget the time I lost it for a few minutes in front of a dying hospice patient I had...a copd'er who slipped on that banana peel and went head first down towards death I mean FAST! It was a particularly difficult death for me because I'd allowed myself to get too attached to the family and patient for reasons of the dynamics of the home...the wife died unexpectedly the week before due to a staph infection in a newly replaced total knee replacement (a death that shouldn't have occurred...), one of the daughters was a CP child and she was dependent on both of her parents to care for her, so she'd have to either be placed in a LTC facility or one of her sisters would have to care for her, she was accustomed to being spoiled rotten and she was like a little angel on earth....just a sad, sad, situation...anyway, the social worker on our team was there as was a hospice pastor....they both intervened with quick hugs, and SW reminded me to pull myself together as I wasn't any help to the family or patient with hysterics...I wasn't hysterical,...just crying rather loudly!
    I did pull myself together. It was sad, tragic, but I had allowed myself to get too close, ultimately.
    I do not regret allowing my feelings to show, after all I am human, too.
    I have cried in front of family members at deaths, or at turns for the worst if I felt like I couldn't hold it back, but still remained professional and did what I had to do for the patient and their loved ones.
    It doesn't take professionalism away from care...it shows that we DO care.
    I'm not a crybaby by any means....just a caring nurse.
  13. by   crb613
    Yes & no I don't think its unprofessional. I am human, have a heart, & I care.
  14. by   meownsmile
    I think when i stop having those moments of emotions i wont want to be a nurse anymore.

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