Today I went to a workshop with a bunch of other new grads in critical care. While there we got to discussing our fears/stressors and everyone but myself listed the number one fear as that of killing a patient. When I said I was not afraid this occurring, I was looked upon as some sort of uncaring fool.
Well, I do care for my patients. I work in an ICU where most of the patients have a poor prognosis. I feel totally responsible for helping that pt reach the highest level of functioning possible... I talk to them all, even the unconcious ones, and tell them funny jokes/how the weather is etc. I tape photos of the family up where the pt can see them. I even offer gold stars for getting through an ng insertion or an IV or ABG (silly, but to my surprise, my 60-80 yr olds who are alert - crani's mostly, LOVE the gold stars- they often ask later on, if they can have a gold star for whatever....I double check my medications, orders, MAR's, etc before I implement anything, and sometimes feel a little too slow because of all the checking. In addition, I make sure to persue referrals for PT/OT (often forgotten in the ICU), and to seek help from more experienced RN's when I feel unsure.I have no desire to unintentionally (or intentionally) kill a patient, but I don't (as some girls stated) go home and have nightmares about this happening. I know that a little fear is healthy-and I certainly have a fear at different moments in each shift. But should I experience on overwhelming fear, for an entire 12 hour shift that I am going to accidently kill a patient? Am I a bad nurse because I don't always have this fear? Help me out here please!