Did I over react??

  1. First off just want to say hi to everyone Im new to this site. Just need a little advise about something that happened today that is really bothering me. Im a first year 2nd semester nursing student doing an OB rotation. I was at clinicals today and a mother delivered a 34 week old baby that unfortunately demised. The delivery was around 5am in the morning and the parents requested that the baby be kept in the nursery because there was family coming that would like to see the baby. The nursery is only used for blood draws, hearing test & so patients are not able to go in or even see in for that matter.

    This was my first time seeing a demised baby and it really upset me. I know that this is part of life an all but it hurt anyway.

    So heres the issue. A nurse came on shift around 7pm From the minute she got on the floor she was complaining about one thing or another. She went into the nursery and the first thing she did was ask why is this still here ( referring to the baby) another nurse responded that the family had asked for us to keep him in the nursery because family is coming by to see him. The first nurse said well why cant she keep IT in her room. It shouldn't be here IT should be in the morgue. Again this baby was not taking up needed room he did not have an infectious disease he was just unfortunate.

    I let my mouth get the better of me and asked this nurse why was this such a big deal?? She replied because IT shouldn't be here IT should be in the morgue we can get IT whenever the mother asks for IT.

    Of course this nurse was not very pleased and quite frankly I didn't care. As I was driving home I started to question myself about why I wanted to be a nurse. I don't know that I will be able to work along side of some one with an attitude like this. And unfortunately this is my 4th clinical rotation and there seems to be a nurse like this at every one.

    Did I over react?? Is this just something as an experienced nurse that I will learn to handle? It wasn't the just the death of the baby that upset me it got me more when the nurse was referring to this baby as an IT like IT was a parasite or something.
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   NurseCard
    Hon, you are going to run into nurses with this kind of attitude. Please don't let it get to you. *HUGS* Some of them are burned out on the particular area that they are working in and need badly to move on; some of them perhaps never belonged in that area to begin with.

    This nurse has perhaps become de-sensitized to fetal deaths, to the point that she always refers to demised infants as IT. Sounds to me like she has gone over the edge though; with her attitude it sounds like she may be at that point where she needs to consider a change in career or specialty. I mean, it's one thing to be able to separate yourself from what can be overwhelming emotions regarding a fetal death; it's quite another to be as blatantly insensitive and uncaring as this nurse sounds like she has let herself become.

    Anyway though... please don't let nurses like that get to you. Just find a specialty for yourself that you enjoy and love with your heart, and don't let others ruin that for you.

    As an aside: I though most hospitals actually did keep demised infants in the morgue until the parents/family asked to see them, not in the nursery? Does actually sound a bit odd to me.
  4. by   Tweety
    Yes, you did overreact. Don't give that one or two nurses at each clinical have such power over you as to cause you to doubt whether or not you're making the right decision. That decision should come within.

    Just take it as a lesson learned as to how you don't want to be. Also, take it as a lesson learned that in the real world we are going to come across nurses we don't like, but yet have to find a way to get along with. I've never had a job in any field, or worked or floated to any unit, or taken a class, or gone to a church, where 100% of the people acted and thought like me, in a way that I approved of. Trolls are everywhere.

    No you did not overreact by being a bit angry with her.

    I too hate when people refer to patients as "it's". When I was a charge nurse, I would say to staff "you're getting a patient in room 535" and 99% of them say "What is IT?". I would say: "IT is not an IT but a human being with a ruptured spleen."

    There should be a policy in place for these kinds of situation, even if it's a matter of "what difference does it make", it's a matter of "what is the unit's written policy?".
  5. by   djkmc1998
    Quote from donegal1

    Of course this nurse was not very pleased and quite frankly I didn't care. As I was driving home I started to question myself about why I wanted to be a nurse. I don't know that I will be able to work along side of some one with an attitude like this. And unfortunately this is my 4th clinical rotation and there seems to be a nurse like this at every one.

    Hey there! As a student myself, I have experienced the questioning of myself....am i really sure this is what I want to do? I think as a student a lot of us go thru that when we have a bad experience. Just look at it like a lesson & know you will never act as that nurse did. No matter where we work there are going to be jerks. Just keep your head up. Take care.
  6. by   Tweety
    Let me also say that practically on a daily basis while in school and even for a long time afterwards I questioned myself and whether I wanted to be a nurse, or had what it takes. That is normal from what I've seen. Self-doubt and questioning oneself is common.

    Good luck.
  7. by   BSNtobe2009
    I'll tell you exactly why you want to be a nurse, because nurses like the one you described are exactly the ones that need to get out of the profession and wonderful, caring individuals such as yourself, is WHO THEY NEED! Nurses NEED to be able to care. I'm not saying they need to break down and cry, but they need to care.

    God Bless You for caring so much.
  8. by   jill48
    You did overreact, but it is quite understandable, especially if the other nurse is experienced (which it sounds like she was). When I first went to nursing school, I wanted to be a baby nurse, most of us did. Well that changed as soon as I did my OB clinical. Seeing hurt, sick, or dead babies is not something that I can handle emotionally. I would not be able to "leave work at work". You will be able to find a specialty that is right for you. I worked in psych, med/surg, and geriatrics. I prefer geriatrics because in my mind they have lived their lives and death is natural at this point in life. In geriatrics, I feel like I am helping the patient and the family during the death process. This is also why I could never work ER - seeing sick, injured, or dead babies and children would not be something I could ever, ever deal with. I always believed it is the OB nurses who have it the toughest; I could never do what they do. So just keep going, you WILL find your niche. We all do eventually. And one more thing, that mean nurse that was calling the baby "it" may have been doing so because that is HER way of dealing with a dead baby. Maybe that is what gets her through it. I'm not saying she was right, but we just don't know what her reasoning is. Who knows how many dead babies this nurse took care of. Who knows how many died in her arms or for that matter hung on for dear life when she knew it would end badly anyway. Believe me, I think calling the baby "it" is disgusting, but try to see her side, and maybe feel her pain - even if she doesn't show it on the outside anymore. Good luck and God bless.
  9. by   scrmblr
    Devils advocate...Maybe this is her coping mechanism for dealing with infant deaths? Maybe she has a really hard time knowing that a little baby is dead so close to her?

    Either way she should not have called the baby and "it"

    You did the right thing by coming here and getting feedback on your feelings.
  10. by   Chaya
    Donegal-
    Really good advice from RealNurseWitch but I disagree on one point.

    Do let it get to you.

    Remember it always and hopefully find a tactful yet forceful way to "re-educate" those around you with similar attitudes. Incorporate it into your nursing practice as a prime example of how you DON"T want to be.

    Sometimes you learn as much from the negative examples set by the true jerks you run into (or more!) as from the best role models!
  11. by   flytern
    Been an OB nurse for almost 20years. You are in the right as far as I'm concerned. There really is no reason for that infant to be in the morgue, it's really hard on the parents to imagine that their child is cold/alone....

    We keep our fetal demises either in the room with the parents or in our utility room until parents/family are done holding/baptism/pix. Then the baby goes to the morgue. But can be brought back to our unit if requested.

    I also precept new staff for fetal demises. It's very uncomfortable for RN's to deal with these situation, unfortunately they do occur. No one knows what to say (don't have to say anything, just be there) We're trained to bring life into this world, and darn it, babies aren't suppose to die!

    Sometimes, being emotionally involved with patients can be very draining, you can't take your work home with you, maybe that's why that RN was so rude, she just didn't want to get emotionally involved.

    :spin:
  12. by   donegal1
    Just want to say thanks to everyone for the advise it helped. I understood that this may be her way of coping but coping like that should be kept to herself especially if the mother is in a room right across from the nurses desk. What every happened to if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all?

    But really thank you all!!!!!!!!!!
  13. by   GardenDove
    Hey, I admire you. You were able to call her on her bad attitude. It sounds like you'll be a great pt advocate. Yes, you'll run into plenty of burnt out nurses like that, that's why I had homebirths I didn't want to deal with bossy nurses.

    When I was in nursing school there was a mother holding her baby that was wrapped up, and I went in to admire it. It looked so beautiful, peaceful, and angelic. Ha! I didn't realize at the time that it was dead, but found out when I went out of the room and another student informed me. Fortunately I hadn't really commited a faux pax, the mother seemed fine with it, she was a Spanish speaking pt from Mexico, I can still see her in my mind today, clear as day, looking down lovingly at her lost child.
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    The insensitivity of that nurse is glaring. You did not over-react in how you felt. But be careful how your reactions play out before people like that. And remember this: You will have to guard against just such burnout yourself as a nurse. It's easy to slip into it, if one is not careful. Just be professional when pointing this out to others. Sometimes, I think we all can use a reminder about being very sensitive in situations like this. We deal with this all-too-often. The parents, however are devastated. Also, understand, some nurses are VERY uncomfortable with stillborn situations. I know I work with a few will almost beg to be able to "pass off" their stillbirth cases to other nurses. They just don't cope well.

    Fortunately, I cope fairly well and have a good feel for how this affects the families losing these babies. I have plenty of loss experience to draw on. But for the first two years after my last loss, I did not cope well and had coworkers covering me for these cases. It was just too personal and close to home for me----way too painful. We all react differently. Maybe that nurse has a history that you don't know about...never know unless she shares it with you. Either way, she had no business saying what she did, for sure.

    And for the record, our parents can have their babies for visitation anytime they are with us. And we WILL keep the stillborn babies in our nursery (out of the sight of other parents/families) at the parents' requests. If they are done, we take the babies down to the morgue and keep them on hospital campus until the parents are discharged home or request they go to the funeral home.

    I am sorry you were witness to this. Unfortunately, I can't lie to you; there is a lot of callousness out there. I have been privvy to it myself as a patient and it hurts much worse. Hopefully this nurse does not display such behaviors around her patients.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Nov 30, '06

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