death - page 2

I AM A NEW NURSING GRADUATE AND I RECENTLY CAME UPON MY FIRST DEATH OF ONE OF MY PATIENTS. I FELT HORRIBLE EVEN THOUGH IT WASN'T PREVENTABLE AND THERE WAS NOTHING ANYONE COULD HAVE DONE. DO NURSES... Read More

  1. by   donna6133
    my friend has the last stages of ovarian cancer i would like to know if anyone can tell me what to look for.When they call in hospice is that a bad sign?
  2. by   debbyed
    Bad for Whom....In most of my experiences hospice is called in to help give the patient and the family much needed support. The patient is allowed to direct any further therapy with an emphases on dignity, peacefulness and pain management.

    This time allows the patient and his/her family time to say and do the things important to them and to come to terns with the disease process. Usually by this time the patient has chosen to forgo any further testing and treatment other than confort and pain control.

    As you said, your firend is in the last stages of her disease. She now needs her family and friends to understand and support her decision to pass away confortably,peacefully and in a loving environment. Go to her and be with her. Reminise about the times you had, hold her hand and tell her that you care,

    This is one of the most important times in a persons life, and the transition from this life to the next is made so much easier by the skill of the hospise nurses and the care of the family and friends. Although we must all make this last trip alone, it has to be much easier when you are surrounded by love.
  3. by   mattcastens
    My first experience with a death was actually my first day of orientation as a nursing assistant about six years ago. The lady had already died, and the first thing my preceptor decided to train me on was post-mortem care.

    I couldn't stop giggling!

    It was a combination of many things, mostly the fact that I had never encountered such a situation before. At the same time, I felt terrible laughing at what I percieved to be such a somber time.

    On the other hand, I personally have never felt sad at death itself. Certainly the circumstances may be tragic (trauma, child, etc.), but I find that the actual pain of the situation is usually not caused by the death of a patient, rather the reactions of family and friends who have lost a loved one.

    Death is inevitable. No matter how we try to avoid it, we all will die. In fact, I think much of the tragidy surrounding death stems from the fact that as a society we try so hard to fight it. Many times death is more of a blessing than a curse. Those who have already passed have been relieved of a lot of misery and no longer care about their corporeal being.

    Even the death of youth need not be tragic. It is simply that the time has come. As I mentioned before, though, trauma, or deaths involving a lot of pain change the circumstances.

    When a patient of mine dies, watching and helping the family makes it difficult. No one can deny that loosing a loved one is one of the most painful experiences we can endur. Having lost many close to me, I understand that, perhaps, better than most.
  4. by   donna6133
    Just wanted to let you all know my friend died last night of ovarian cancer at least she's not in any more pain.I will miss her dearly
  5. by   hoolahan
    Donna, I am very sorry. I know that you made the most of your time together near the end, and I am sure that she knew how much you loved her.
  6. by   tai
    hello everyone, i'm a first year student studying nsg and so far i love it....

    donna, i'm sorry about your loss....but i also believe that your friend is in good hands.

    i've experienced death at the age of 13, and was blessed to be the only child in our family there, but even now that i'm 21, i still cry over losing my mother, esp. when i know she would be, where no one else is.... with me.

    but my question for you all is...how easy is it to get into heaven?

    tai
  7. by   donna6133
    Thank you so much hoolahan I appreciate the message
  8. by   Sundowner
    Donna,

    I am so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and all of you here who so elequently tell how you deal with such a difficult subject, and truley one of the hardest we as nurses face.

    When I entered Nursing, I thought very carefully about the areas in which I thought I was best suited to work, and my thoughts always came back to how much can I handle. I decided, though it is still difficult to deal with, I am much more helpful and much more pulled together when it comes to the eldrley and dying. I know, with all of my heart, that to see a child suffer or die , could not be dealt with well. I would never be able to be of benifit to the child or the family because I would be a basket case myself.

    I chose geriatrics, though it is still difficult, I can come to grips and am much more benificial to families in dealing with the death of an aged person. Life has been lived, and now there is peace. I can express true empathy, for I have lost, I cant comprehend loosing a child,, I have lost a Father, and Grandparents,,, I know that pain. I know when your daddy dies, you immediatly feel like you are a child again, you are sure you would always need him and his wisdom. I know when your grandmother dies, your heart aches at the thoughts of never having her warm embrace, her constant smile and approval, and you tend to wonder about the fate of your parents.

    These are things I know, and I have always felt it best for me to stick to the things I know.
    I have always viewed the death of the elderly as a blessing, a homecomming, a reason to be rejoycefull, for they are in a better place and life has been lived, yet there is sorrow for us left behind who shall miss them, I also believe that they are always with us.

    When one of my patients dies, I am actually glad for their suffering has ended or perhaps they never suffered....that is good too! I am thankful for the chance to know them, and their families. I strive to provide families with support, a shoulder, an ear, share a tear, for they are the ones who will need it most, the deceased is bound for glory.

    For those of you who work in Ped's , or ER's , or anywhere that untimley death occurs. God bless you. I couldn't handle it, thank heavens you can.
  9. by   semstr
    Donna, I am sorry for you! But glad for your friend, her suffering is over. I'll lit a special candle tonight.
    Take care Renee
  10. by   CATHYW
    DebbieEd and Ted are so right. Being sensitive to the loss of another human being is part of what makes a good nurse. You will never "get used" to death, but there will be times that you recognize it as a blessing, and other times, a tragedy. I did floor nursing and ER, and it always affected me. I didn't always cry, but I was always sad.
    It is an awesome thing to see death occur. Even though the circumstances of the fatal injury may have been traumatic, or the CA lingered for a long, long time, death comes quietly. I always thought that people went, kicking and screaming. I was wrong. I think the impact is that, if death can quietly appear and take someone away, it could just as easily happen to me. It makes me aware again of just how vulnerable we humans are.
    Try to be as supportive of the family as you can, without being intrusive-believe me, they will remember how they were treated, even if they don't remember your face.
    Since all of us go through this, find another of your staff members that you can discuss your feelings with. Even though our spouses and family love us, they cannot begin to know what it is like, unless they are in the field.
    One last note-when I was preparing an expired person for their family to visit for the last time in the ER, I always talked with the person. I am a firm believer in hearing being the last sense to go. I would tell the person what I was doing, just as I would have if they had been alive, and would tell them how sorry I was that they had to leave, or how it must be a relief to have the pain over with-whatever I was feeling at the time. Mind you, this was always behind a closed door-I didn't want to spook anyone!
  11. by   Rustyhammer
    I've seen death many times and it is harder some times than others. I get attached to my patients and some are harder to see go than others.
    I'm a cryer and if someone is dying I'm right there with the family balling beside them.
    I took time off and took care of my father for 3 1/2 months while he was actively dying. It was hard to watch him wither away (CA). I still haven't cried for his death. I wonder why?
    Death is strange at times I guess.
    -R
  12. by   canoehead
    My first death was a pediatric patient who was expected to be discharged the next day. When his parents came in I didn't know what to say, and as a result said all the wrong things. It took me a year to be able to think of that night without crying, but I got there.

    When I called a friend to vent he said, "Well that's just part of the job, isn't it?" and was just not understanding why I would be upset. I couldn't explain it to him but part of the resolution came with thinking about how death is not "just part of the job".

    I think that the "job" part for me entails all the routine tasks. Seeing a patient to death and counselling the family- well you just couldn't pay me enough to do that. So as nurses the tears and support we give to the people we come across I categorize as not my job, but something that I offer to them as a person. I don't know if what I am trying to express is coming through- nursing in the sense of counselling is a calling, and everytime you break of a piece of yourself to see someone through a time they feel is unbearable- that sacrifice is not a mandated part of any job. No employer can measure it or make you do it, but those of us with the calling to help do it without thinking. Eventually you will be able to do it without injuring yourself in the process, but it is a hard lesson to learn, not taught in a seminar.

    I agree with all the replies on this thread, but at the same time want to say that if you are dealing with losing a part of yourself along with your patient you may find all the advice hollow. Just know that we can understand, but putting the coping mechanics in words is a very hard thing. You have our support, and the amount that you care (the amount this affects you) reflects your ability to support families in spiritual crisis.

    Peace to you.
  13. by   Researchnurse
    While in nursing school 25+ years ago, I had 6 patients in 8 weeks die while I was caring for them. (No, it wasn't anything I did, just had some very sick people that rotation in Med-Surg). My instructor and fellow students were very worried about me, but eventually it became a joke...."doing post-mortum care for the first time?..... go get Jo Ann". It was a rough rotation, but I learned quickly that I could make a difference with helping the family through this ordeal. I cry very easily (maybe more now than then, but that is due to the hormones at age 47!) and never tried to hide my tears. I have gone to the services of my patients on occasion, and again felt it made the family very pleased that their loved one was in my care when they passed. I always tried to make them as comfortable as they could be, and tried to show the love I felt for them.
    It wasn't until shortly after my own Father died however that I had my most difficult yet most beautiful death experience with a patient. (I was not there when my Dad died,something I miss to this very day, some 10 years later).
    I had only been back a few days after his death when I was assigned to a patient who was terminal and had no family. I made up my mind I was going to be there when she died to hold her hand and let her know I was there with her. She was unconscious the last few hours, ( the rest of the staff picked up my other patients for me...I think they knew how important it was to me). I held her hand and spoke softly to her for a very long time...telling her it was "OK" to let go. After she drew her last breath I asked her to tell my Dad I loved him when she saw him. Somehow I knew he would be there to greet her on the other end.
    I rarely cry when I think of my Dad since then. I know he is smiling down on me and my family....I know he loves the great-granddaughter he never got to hold (at least not here on earth)....but I also KNOW in my heart he was there for her when she was born 15 months ago and underwent surgery at 4 hours old for Gastroschisis.
    I guess what I am saying is that there is a sadness when someone dies, but I do not believe that they are sad...it is those of us left behind. I feel my Dad's presence all the time, and it makes me very happy. Since then I too feel it is an honor to be present when someone dies...it is actually just as beautiful as seeing a beautiful newborn for the first time.

close