Quote from mcbn2u
I'm really beating myself up over this because she was alone this entire time. I don't think anyone should be alone during a time like this and I did think earlier in my shift to go in there and be with her but I didn't because I had other patients to tend to and you just don't know how much time they actually have left. I've heard of patients passing away while I've been at work but this is the first time I've really seen someone nearing death. I know I shouldn't beat myself up over this but it's hard. I would love to hear how other deal with death because I know working at a nursing home I'm going to encounter this again.
You not wanting someone to be alone, or in any discomfort, is very empathetic of you, mcbn2u. We can only be in control of so much and it sounds like you were doing your job in providing care to those residents under your charge. You were doing your job.
The first death I dealt with professionally was as an EMT a drowning victim who was 24 years old- two years older than me at the time. I guess it bothered me some, probably because I could identify with the individual. Identifying with the individual can elicit feelings of sympathy which can interfere with our emotions and ability to provide adequate care.
Beating yourself up could be seen as an unnecessary expenditure of emotional energy which does no good for anyone.
We all deal with death differently in order to continue our work as caregivers. For some reason, death never has bothered me deeply, and I've dealt with it as an EMT and in many areas of nursing including ER, OR, LTC, Home Health, Gero Psych, and even Chemical Dependency treatment.
I've always tried to do the best job I could, and that's probably what has buoyed me through. Heck, once as a Scrub Nurse, we lost a Patient during a routine pacemaker change. There the Patient was, on the OR table with a Surgeon, Anesthesiologist, and Representative from the new pacemaker company, and the Patient coded! We did everything we could, but the Patient was gone!
My personal belief that, when it's your time to go- you're gone, has seemed to help me.
Again, we can only be in control of so much and just do the best job we can.
The very best to you mcbn2u!