how you draw the line between the nurse and the person???

  1. HI
    I've been an RN for almost a year now, I can't believe it!!!
    I work in a long term-acute hospital with ventilator patients. I lost so many patients in one year, and I am getting depressed.
    SInce they are terminally ill its hard to not loose them. One after the other, you take care of them for months sometimes, you know the families so well and when they go I cannot help to go home and cry. I am a pretty emotional person, but I was wandering if a lot of you guys cry for your patients too. I mean we are still human right??
    Thanks for listening
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   bellehill
    Pamelita-

    Having a pt die is always a hard thing to deal with, especially if you have become close to the pt and family. Being emotional is not a bad thing, many times it will help the family to know you cared so much for their loved one. If you are getting depressed I would consider either taking a break from this area of nursing or getting some counselling. Usually the hospital will offer some type of counselling for the employees.

    It sounds like you are a great nurse, give yourself a break! Of course nurses are human, possibly more than most people can understand. It is hard to lose a pt, however believe that you made that pt and family comfortable when it mattered. That should be a comfort to you.

    Keep up the good work and take care of yourself.
  4. by   RNinICU
    After 4 years as an aide, 4 as an LPN, and 18 as an RN, I can tell you that yes, I still cry for, and with, my patients. When you reach the point that it no longer affects you, then it is time to find another profession. It can be difficult to lose a patient. I still remember patients I lost 15 years ago. I have learned however to not take those feelings home with me. It is difficult at times, but I focus on what I have done to help the patient and family, not on the loss.
  5. by   Fgr8Out
    When I worked in LTC, our Residents lived and died. I took it as a privilege to be with these people at their most vunerable moments... including death. Even now in the hospital setting, there are patients who I know will die... and I try to look upon it as my responsiblilty to make their last days as comfortable as possible. Still, it isn't easy, and it's OK to cry and grieve... we're human.

    Pamelita, God Bless you for your caring... I'm sure your patient's and their families bless you too.

    Peace
  6. by   LasVegasRN
    Originally posted by RNinICU
    After 4 years as an aide, 4 as an LPN, and 18 as an RN, I can tell you that yes, I still cry for, and with, my patients. When you reach the point that it no longer affects you, then it is time to find another profession. It can be difficult to lose a patient. I still remember patients I lost 15 years ago. I have learned however to not take those feelings home with me. It is difficult at times, but I focus on what I have done to help the patient and family, not on the loss.
    My sentiments exactly. :angel2:
  7. by   fedupnurse
    As RNinICU said so beautifully, once you stop caring it is time to bail. I have gotten very good at leaving work at work but that desn't mean you can always just turn it off. There are those patients and families that you do get attached to and you cry with and for. Better to let those emotions out than keep them in because then you will definetly get depressed! I make sure I do stuff for just me on a regualr basis, walk on the beach with the dog, get a massage, stack my shifts so I can get away from the hospital for a week and a half without using any vacation time, stuff like that. I also keep non health care friends to keep my sanity.
  8. by   Dayray
    I have cried both tears of sadness, for people who died too soon and tears of joy for people who were finaly released from their pain when they died.

    It comes with the job. I think I am a better person for having been with so many people as they left this world. After a while death seems so natural. I have learned to see death as a pleasent thing (in some cases) altough sometimes it is very hard for me to deal with seeing the people left behind and the pain they are in.
  9. by   Ragin Cajun
    I have cried for and with many patients. This shows that you are very much human, to the patients and families too, who sometime see us as superhuman or somehow 'removed' from the pain of death and suffering. I think it is an asset to you that you are able to show your 'humanness' and feelings by exhibiting tears. If you are getting too depressed and drained, as someone else said, time to take care of you a while. Never quit caring like this, as it is what makes you a good nurse.
  10. by   mark_LD_RN
    i often cry with or for my patients. when you stop caring enough to cry it is time to leave nursing. I have cried on several occassions in the last 3 days . one of the babies i was in delivery with crashed and still not sure if he will make it. i call the NICU where we sent him 2 or 3 times a day to check on him. I end up crying just talking about him. it takes compassion to be a good nurses. i am not ashamed of me compassion in the least. i know at times if feels hard to deal with but it is part of the job and i will never change
  11. by   VictoriaG
    I used to be a bereavement counselor until I reached the point where I could not leave my work at work. I became so immersed in the grief of others that it really screwed up my life. I have since changed specialties, but I still feel caring and compassion are the most important traits a nurse can have. If you feel it is becoming too prevalent in your life, change specialties for a while. There are so many opportunities for us nurses out there!
  12. by   santhony44
    Pamelita: I think it's wonderful that you do get emotionally involved in your work; it means you are a compassionate human being! However, it sounds as if your emotional resources are getting low. I'd do two things: take a vacation (if you haven't had one recently) and take it ASAP! I'd also start looking around for another type of job. Consider something like PACU, where you don't have sustained contact with your patients.

    A number of years ago, I worked in an emotionally stressful job longer than I should have. It didn't help that the "culture" there was tough and unemotional and I thought I was the only one. I finally realized that I was distancing myself emotionally. Unfortunately, it was not only from my patients but from my family and friends as well. I did realize that I was getting messed up and left!

    Leave, at least for a while, and get yourself rebalanced and recharged; you can't give your best to your patients if you do not!
  13. by   jemb
    Having worked in oncology for 15+ years, I've seen many patients make the transition from this life. I've cried more times than I could ever count, sometimes with the patient and/or the family, sometimes with my co-workers, but most often alone. It's not always sadness, either. Sometimes crying is a release from stress, an acknowledgement of humanness. Whatever the reason, it is okay to cry. It's also important to do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. (Yes, I know we nurses don't do well with that one!) See a counselor (might find one in your employer's EAP), join a group for support, take a vacation, or do something to pamper yourself for a day. ((((((Hugs)))))).
  14. by   live4today
    Originally posted by Pamelita
    HI
    I've been an RN for almost a year now, I can't believe it!!!
    I work in a long term-acute hospital with ventilator patients. I lost so many patients in one year, and I am getting depressed.
    SInce they are terminally ill its hard to not loose them. One after the other, you take care of them for months sometimes, you know the families so well and when they go I cannot help to go home and cry. I am a pretty emotional person, but I was wandering if a lot of you guys cry for your patients too. I mean we are still human right??
    Thanks for listening
    ((((((Pamelita))))) It is impossible to do for others in a capacity such as this without having your body, mind, and soul drained in the process. It's good to cry! It's good to be emotional and show your emotions. Sometimes depression comes with the job of being a caregiver, especially when those you are caring for are on death's door, or so sick they want to die. When you STOP feeling, or STOP crying, or STOP being emotional as a caregiver.....it's time for you to move on to something else. Hang in there.....you are in EXCELLENT company because many a caregiver - be they doctor, nurse, or whatever - has cried and become emotionally beside themselves when caring for certain patients. :kiss

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