How do you control your emotions?

  1. 0
    I really worry about when I become a nurse because I get attached to people VERY easily. I'm so afraid that I won't be able to control my emotions if I see something horrible or if one of my patients dies. Even my hubby has mentioned that he doesn't know if I'll be able to handle it. I WANT to be a nurse because I love helping people. How do you keep your emotions under control? Is it something you can get in trouble for?

    My mom had the most wonderful nurse that was preparing her for an emergency heart bypass. She cried and cried with our family and I kept saying to myself "This nurse really cares. She's got a heart of gold", but I don't know if that kind of reaction is "acceptable".

    ???
  2. 9 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Quote from NicInNC
    I really worry about when I become a nurse because I get attached to people VERY easily. I'm so afraid that I won't be able to control my emotions if I see something horrible or if one of my patients dies. Even my hubby has mentioned that he doesn't know if I'll be able to handle it. I WANT to be a nurse because I love helping people. How do you keep your emotions under control? Is it something you can get in trouble for?

    My mom had the most wonderful nurse that was preparing her for an emergency heart bypass. She cried and cried with our family and I kept saying to myself "This nurse really cares. She's got a heart of gold", but I don't know if that kind of reaction is "acceptable".

    ???
    What is acceptable depends on the people you work with and your
    supervisor.
  4. 0
    Before I became a nurse, another nurse told me that I needed to learn how to remove the emotional side of myself when caring for patients because it wasn't good to get attached that way. I never took her advice. I am emotional in a good way just as I am emotional in ways that are not good for me. This is not one of them. It is OKAY to show emotion with your patients, especially the long term patients that you can't help but become attached too emotionally.

    If I lose a patient that was close to me, and the family was very dear to me, I cry along with them, hug them, and am there for them if they need me.

    A lot of what we feel inside comes with the package. Take it or leave it. I say NEVER be afraid to show healthy emotions in critical situations such as losing a patient, embracing family and patients you have come to know and truly care for. I'm not talking about sobbing every time something happens with a patient. I'm talking about being real with your patients and their family members. No one wants a phony taking care of them.
  5. 0
    What do you do for the opposite problem???
  6. 0
    I felt the same way in nursing school (I just graduated), I would get attached to patients and cry about them when I left. I worried that it would eat me up once I started working, but for some reason it doesn't bother me anymore. I mean, I feel bad for people, but once I leave the room I don't really think about them anymore. I think after awhile you just get used to seeing people at the worst point of their entire lives and you start to detach from the situation. Don't get me wrong, I still care about people and do my best to make people comfortable, but it doesn't eat me up as much to see people suffering. I just try to concentrate on what i am doing to ease their suffering instead of putting myself in their situation or trying to imagine what it would be like to be going though what they are. I guess you just start to get used to it after a while. Hmmmm, maybe that's a bad thing...
  7. 0
    The reason you cry when you feel someone elses pain is because you are empathetic. Empathy and Sympathy are 2 different emotions, When you sympathize with some one you feel sorry for them, when you empathize with someone you feel what they feel or what it would be like to feel that. Having the ability to empathize with your patients will do nothing but make you a better and more healing nurse. I too was told not to get too involved with my patients most of the 3 decades that I have been nursing. I was told it was not healthy, that it might even be some kind of a sickness to care that much. Some of the people who told me this were people I respected, so I did question it many times over the years. What I have come to understand is that it is part of my makeup and that this part of me sometimes upsets my life, it sometimes gets in the way of people and things in my life and that some of those who are very close to me have had to make sacrifices for that part of me. But I am who I am and its part of who you are. Now you will have to make adjustments through the years, there will be times of your life that you will have to pull back some of that emotion and give it in other directions. At times you may just have to take breaks to replinish yourself. But please don't ever feel that there is something wrong with you because you feel. There is something very right about you. I am now working as a private duty in home nurse with children with trachs on vents. I am with a child for years at a time. They, their parents, sibilings, and extended family become part of my family and stay that way long after I am no longer working with the child. I no longer worry about this GIFT I have and have learned to live with it. It's a blessing, use it wisely and spread it around. I hope the best for you. MiMI
  8. 0
    Perhaps it would help you to think in terms of controling your "actions" instead of controling your "emotions."

    We feel what we feel. Acknowledge those feelings and then focus on how you can best help the patient. As long as you are focusing on helping the patient, your actions will probably be just fine.

    I have seen a few nurses get so focused on their emotions that they stop being a help to the patient. That's not good. In those cases, the nurse's actions become more about what feels good for her instead of being what is best for the patient. But the answer to that potential problem is NOT to try to not have the emotions. Those emotions keep us human and keep us compassionate. The trick is to acknowledge those emotions openly and then find a productive way to put those emotions to work -- fueling your efforts to help the patient.

    llg
    Last edit by llg on Jun 26, '05
  9. 0
    hopefully you can talk to one of your instructors about this. this is part and parcel of developing a therapeutic relationship with the patient and their family - and yes, you do develop a relationship with them, no matter how much time you are their nurse. i was taught to, prior to walking into any clinical setting, consider how i would have and nuture that relationship. nurses experience loss and grief just like anyone else. the trick is to remember that you are the professional in this situation. you must consider the family and friends of your patient before you indulge in your own grief. but don't discount your own grief - pay attention to it, and honor it. it is a part of your very humanity. a good clinical setting (hospital, hospice, etc.) will allow you to debrief with another trained professional should you need and/or desire it.
  10. 0
    Just don't treat patients any differently than other patients.

    Remember, in difficult times, patients need someone to lean on. If you don't have your feelings under control, then you can't help others. It's not acceptable for patients to be helping the nurse--it's supposed to be the other way around.

    The patients are not your friends or family. At least, I hope not. So don't treat them as such. If you have emotions that you're having a hard time dealing with, talk with someone OTHER THAN the patient or their family. You will feel for the patients, it's inevitable. But to help them, you need to be the strong one.
  11. 0
    I am a patient. If something were to go wrong with me after one of my surgeries I would want a nurse who was emotionally there for me and my family. Empathy and Sympathy are both extreamly good emotions for a nurse to have.

    Also Cute CNA I disagree with you. You SHOULD treat your patients like your friends. You may be the one person who truely understands what they are going through since you probably will have seen it before. Quite often that is presicly what a patient needs, a friend who understands what they are going through.
    Last edit by lpnstudentin2010 on Jun 26, '05


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