Originally posted by MandyInMS
Just always remember that everyone handles death/dying differently..and it is their right to do so..give them patience and support and always be non-judgemental.Who are we to say what is right/wrong?
Mandy you are so right. REaction to death is a very INDIVIDAUL thing but, having said that it is also the hardest job in nursing you will learn.
Whether you are a nurse, an aide or a Visiting Medical Officer dealing with death and dying is onw of the steepest leaning curves there is. Nurses in particular develop a higher acceptance of the inevitablity of death than is the general for the rest of the population. The best way to handle death is to remember that you are no longer there for the patient - they do not need you anymore except to show the final respect. You are really there for the RELATIVES. Your focus should shift from the dying patient (I am talking here about those who are unaware and non-interactive it is different if the patient is aware and interactive until the end) to the relatives to help them through this stage of the person's life.
Sometimes just doing little comfort measures make an enormous difference. I work with a CNC who will use aromatherapy. Just a nice mixture of background smells - we will ask about the patient's favourite music and see if we can have that playing and then we give the relatives space to greive in thier own way. It isn't much but it show you care and that is always appreciated.
To cry or not to cry.
I have had the misfortune of caring for children who have died from traumatic events. I have always cried - can't help it and the family is always SO supportive because it shows you care. You can be left wondering who is comforting whom. I have met nurses who claim it is "unprofessional" to cry but kids are special and it would be different if the family reacted negatively.
It becomes easier........
if you have come to terms with your own mortality. This is a difficult thing to do - sit down and think of your own death and the impact upon your own world BUT unless you do this and accept death as an inevitable part of the cycle of life then it will remain very difficult to deal with. Remember it is easier to do somthing to extend life (i.e. CPR) than it is to do nothing adn allow the inevitable to occur.