How do you cope?

  1. I am a nursing student, and I havent been on prac yet. I was just wondering how everyone coped the first time they saw somebody die/saw a dead person? This is something that really concerns me as I am really not sure how I am going to cope with it. I fully appreciate that it is part of the job and I am prepared to take on all that nursing entails, I would just like some advice for a newby!


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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   SNRCM
    Talk with other nurses/staff support one another, support the family. If the pt is a DNR and it is expected, it can be very peaceful for all. In nursing school I remember my instructor telling me there will be times when all you can do is sit and hold a hand and that is so true. You will probably surprise yourself in how well you deal with it, it is part of what we do everyday.
  4. by   fultzymom
    My first patient who died on me was very hard. Yes it was expected but she was very young et had four children living at home. Her husband had cheated on her et given her HIV. I did my best to help her mother, who was the only one there for her. Then when all was said et done, I called my husband at 1:30am et cried my eyes out on him. It has been 4 1/2 years since that happened et I have had many patients die on my (I work LTC) et you do learn to seperate yourself emotionally while you are dealing with the family et helping them. I have sat with patients who had no one while they take their last breath because I did not want them to be alone (this is one of my pet peeves!!). Over the years it has become easier for me to deal with it. I am sorry if this sounds cold because I am not a cold-hearted person. But if I am freaking out et upset like the family is then I can not effectively take care of the patient et their family. Then after all is said et done, I still will talk things over with a co-worker or my hubby depending on when everything happens in my shift. That is the hard part of LTC, you really get to know these patients et get to care for them. But I love working it.

    Leslie
  5. by   chuck1234
    Quote from littleoldme
    I am a nursing student, and I havent been on prac yet. I was just wondering how everyone coped the first time they saw somebody die/saw a dead person? This is something that really concerns me as I am really not sure how I am going to cope with it. I fully appreciate that it is part of the job and I am prepared to take on all that nursing entails, I would just like some advice for a newby!


    The most important thing you have to know is...it is a part of life.
  6. by   TheCommuter
    It all depends on your views regarding death and dying.

    My first death didn't really bother me because I am quite comfortable with death and dying issues. I felt badly for the family members who had to experience the loss; however, it really doesn't affect me adversely when a very sick patient dies because I know their suffering has been relieved.

    A patient died on me this past weekend. She was DNR and her family was in the room with her when she expired. I felt horribly for the grieving family, but tranquil at the idea that this very sick woman shall suffer no longer.
  7. by   ShayRN
    I started Hospice in July because I love doing end of life care. I have never been an overly religious person, but I have become a very spirtitual person since starting. I don't THINK there is life after death, I don't THINK those that passed before us come back to guide us over, nor do I THINK angels exist. I KNOW THIS IS ALL TRUE!!! In the 5 short months my inpatient hospice facility has been open - I have seen to much to NOT believe it. I also know that in 2007, MIRACLES DO HAPPEN.
  8. by   jo272wv
    Nursing school is the time for learning, learning all the ins in outs so to speak. Speak with your instructor and ask to be told when this situation arises so you can observe the process. If it becomes to much, walk away and try it another time. All procedures, situations become easier with multiple exposure. When I was in school I had to walk out of a few situations because they became overwhelming. I went home, looked up literature on them and was better prepared the next time.

    good luck with your experiences
  9. by   MikeyBSN
    I'm work in the ER so we have dead/dying patients brought in fairly frequently. I have to admit that most of the time it doesn't really bother me. It's harder if the person is young, but you just have to accept that dying is a part of life.
  10. by   AfloydRN
    It depends on if it was expected or not for me. Sometimes death can be a blessing to someone who has been suffering . If it was from something totally unexpected, it is very hard. The family usually makes me cry. I have had to step out and take a breath before going back in. It's not easy but we are there for the family as well.The worst was when an elderly lady passed actually unexpectedly and her husband came into the room, pulled up a chair next to her, held her hand and said we have been married over 60 years. What do I do now? I lost it. I cried and held his other hand and was just quiet. That was the saddest one for me.
  11. by   Dalzac
    The first person I ever saw die was the third day I worked in CCU as a tech. I was kinda suprised at the way I felt. The lady just stopped breathing and she was resusitated and then they just stopped all the code and it was finished. For some reason I thought it would be a lot more dramatic than it was. Almost like a let-down feeling.
    I have been told that I function well in crisis situations. I just don't get exccited or panic. I care about my patients, but I just look at it as part of the life cycle.(which it is) My kids are freaked out because I am not afraid of getting old and dying. My hubby is the opposite of me.
    I don't know where I learned any of things I know know I figure everybody is born and everybody dies, but I do know what is in the middle of that is what counts
  12. by   Indy
    My impression of a person, once they are dead is that it is wrong. It's so completely the opposite of life that it seems alien to me. I'm usually pretty disturbed and sad when I have to do post-mortem care.

    I keep my dying patients close to my heart. Not all of the ones I had in palliative care died while I was at work but they all made an impression on me. Once I think they are definitely headed "home" I have a huge desire to fuss over them and do mouth care, hand holding, etc. I don't mind working with the family to help them know, how I know their loved one is dying, and why pain relief is a necessary part of comfort care. I feel very strongly that I should do all I can for them because once they're gone, I can't do anything else!

    The one thing I have the worst time with, is giving dying people permission to go. First off, if I'm not family I don't always agree that it's my right to tell them they can go; and second, I'm never really ready for them to go anyhow. If I share that with families it usually makes all of us tear up.

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