How do you keep from getting "too involved"?

  1. I've been reading a lot of discussions on these forums, and I think it's great! You all are so kind and supportive of each other. I'm on another professional forum and there is so much negativity and bashing going on over there. Anyway, I digress...

    I'm going to be applying for a master's entry option in nursing next year. It's been a lifelong dream to become a nurse, though I was sidetracked by a former teacher just trying to be helpful... I have lots of empathy and compassion for others and know that I could be a good nurse, but I worry that this could be a bit of a fault/weakness in addition to it being an asset. How do you take yourself out of a situation and not get too emotionally involved? I don't know if emotionally involved is the right phrase, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say here. I'd appreciate any advice or input.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    You will learn this one way or the other or you will burn yourself out or just end up leaving the profession when it gets to you. Recommend you do some reading on the subject (the self help section of the bookstore should have something) and talk to some seasoned nurses or paramedics or others in healthcare and ask them what they do to keep their sanity. You will get lots of ideas. Many people keep themselves centered through a strong religious faith. One suggestion: you must always keep yourself healthy and fit. A healthy person can make better decisions and can withstand a lot more stress and temptations than someone who is run down and tired all the time. You might want to attend a course on assertiveness training also or read up on it. Good luck in your chosen career field.
  4. by   Gennaver
    Quote from Cali_Rx
    I've been reading a lot of discussions on these forums, and I think it's great! You all are so kind and supportive of each other. I'm on another professional forum and there is so much negativity and bashing going on over there. Anyway, I digress...

    I'm going to be applying for a master's entry option in nursing next year. It's been a lifelong dream to become a nurse, though I was sidetracked by a former teacher just trying to be helpful... I have lots of empathy and compassion for others and know that I could be a good nurse, but I worry that this could be a bit of a fault/weakness in addition to it being an asset. How do you take yourself out of a situation and not get too emotionally involved? I don't know if emotionally involved is the right phrase, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say here. I'd appreciate any advice or input.
    Hello,

    I think you have to define "too involved" in order to know when you've crossed over that line.

    As an empathetic person there is a risk of overextending yourself emotionally or wrapping your thoughts around the problems of a patient, (or even around the deeds of your coworkers too).

    I think it is very important to maintain your empathy while finding a balance between taking self-care and being self-neglectful to your own needs. Remember the saying about putting the air mask on yourself first before others...You can not be very good to anyone at all if you fail to take care of yourself first, this may include knowing how to control your empathy. It may take a while to learn just where your own empathy is no longer for the patient as well. A phrase that someone put in my thoughts, and I use it to question other things as well is, "What purpose is this serving?" or "Who is really benefiting from this?"

    So, if the answer to what purpose is this serving is, "no purpose" or who is really benefitting from this is, "no one other than my own feelings" then your empathy may not necessarily be appropriate.

    If your empathy and compassion is appropriate and it helps you and your patient and is not hurting your, then that seems fine, doesn't it?

    Here are some links on "empaths", I do not know if I like all of what they say, however they do offer advice on how to avoid neglecting yourself.
    http://www.eliselebeau.com/empathResources.php
    http://healing.about.com/cs/empathic...thtraits_2.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

    Gen,
    p.s. I'm a graduate of an Masters entry to nursing program, (DePaul '07).
    p.p.s. do not forget to look at the student forums here, in the graduate ones too!
    Last edit by Gennaver on Dec 6, '07
  5. by   Cali_Rx
    Thanks for the replies! When I said "too involved", I guess I was trying to say "not let the cases affect you too much." I have read some stories that just tug at my heartstrings and it makes me wonder if I can handle it emotionally without becoming a wreck myself. I am sure that everyone cries at one time or another when they lose that "special patient" but how do you keep at it day after day? I can see this as a very challenging yet rewarding field and I really hope to start my studies soon! cheers!
  6. by   pagandeva2000
    You have no choice...if you get too involved, you get sick...physically and emotionally sick. I do not get emotionally involved with the patients, but I get emotionally frustrated when I see horrible things happen to my friends due to an uncaring administration. Thus far, no one has bothered me, really. But, I would get so angry at the things that I did see and my imagination would begin to run away from me and then, I started to panic.

    I realized that I was also very emotional if I didn't know the answer to something, so, I used to spend a great deal of time reading even though I graduated from school last year. I now realized it is just not worth it...not the way I was doing it, because I was super saturating my life with nursing, and didn't give time for a social life. I had to make the decision as recent as last week to take time for myself, because that is the only person I can actually control.
  7. by   Agnus
    Quote from Cali_Rx
    I've been reading a lot of discussions on these forums, and I think it's great! You all are so kind and supportive of each other. I'm on another professional forum and there is so much negativity and bashing going on over there. Anyway, I digress...

    I'm going to be applying for a master's entry option in nursing next year. It's been a lifelong dream to become a nurse, though I was sidetracked by a former teacher just trying to be helpful... I have lots of empathy and compassion for others and know that I could be a good nurse, but I worry that this could be a bit of a fault/weakness in addition to it being an asset. How do you take yourself out of a situation and not get too emotionally involved? I don't know if emotionally involved is the right phrase, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to say here. I'd appreciate any advice or input.
    I make sure my own life is interesting enough that the job does not become my whole focus. I understand I can not save the world or even save another person. I just do what I can in my own little corner of life and move on. Life is too interesting and too to focus on trying to solve someone else's problems. In other words develop interests and passions that do not involve nursing.
  8. by   Agnus
    You keep at it day after day because you have a life away from it that gives you perspective to see the good you do and see the positive outcomes.

    There are people who view my job as "depressing" taking care of sick and dying or taking care of sick kids. I see it as heart warming that I add something positive to their lives be it compassion, a smile, a treatment or what ever it is I am able to do for that person.

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