I cried in the chapel for the first time... - page 2

In the past ten years of nursing, I never cried for a patient. It's not that I am cold or unfeeling. I do often get comments from patients how "nice" or "gentle" I am. While I do care greatly, I just... Read More

  1. Visit  Kooky Korky profile page
    Dear OP, God bless you. I think you did just fine. Thank you for caring.
  2. Visit  presey31 profile page
    Just remember,"the golden rule," it always puts everything into proper perspective for me, and that is, "treat all ppl the way you desire to be treated." Shine!!!
  3. Visit  cpbuttercup profile page
    I think you handle the situation beautifully. You asked if there was anything you could do and there wasn't. It wasn't a stupid question despite what you think because it showed you cared. Regardless of whether you're a warm-fuzzy person or not, you're still a nurse and it's your job to show patients you care about them. It doesn't mean you have to get mushy and cry with them but you do have to be somewhat sensitive in those kind of situations. Please don't think this next part is about you, I know you said, and I quoted you, "I do often get comments from patients how "nice" or "gentle" I am." But I have ran into and have dealt with nurses out there who have personalities of wet dishrags and who are grouchy and mean. I mean the ones who come in deal with their patients and leave, They chose the wrong profession. I'm not saying they don't have emotions when they leave but patients and families depend on you for support, emotionally, and you have to listen to them when they talk. It's our job, bottom line. Especially children, they're scared to death and to have a nurse come in and act like a cold fish only makes things worse and ticks the parents off. Don't most nurses complain about the doctors we work for and their bedside manor and what we have to deal with and listen to patients, parents and family members complain about how the doc was rude???? I know I do and it gets old fast. So I think what you said was great, you didn't have to change who you were too much but gave enough to show you care. And you asked, "Would you like me to stay with you, or leave you alone for a while?" would be fine. If you don't have time, you can also say, "I need to check on a patient but I will come back and stay with you when I'm done if you would like." If it aggravates them so be it, but I don't think most people would be. I think they would be grateful by the gesture. One of the thoughts I try to keep in mind when I'm at work is, how would I want that nurse to treat me, my husband, my children or family member???? So I try to treat my patients the same way. With little adjustments depending on the patients personality, some are more reserved than others. But you get my point.
    kismetRN likes this.
  4. Visit  tokebi profile page
    Thank you cpbuttercup.

    Part of my problem is that I over-analyze what I should say and how I should act, and even all kinds of possible repercussions! I think I need to be more confident once I act on what was the best course of action for the situation. It's just... so darn hard especially with patients who don't talk or express themselves openly...

    To be honest, I do feel a little jealousy when I see a coworker with a vibrant, spontaneous personality cracking jokes and making them laugh. And then, I would take over and it's all somber...

    As you can see, I'm not the most confident nurse you see...
  5. Visit  kismetRN profile page
    Quote from tokebi

    To be honest, I do feel a little jealousy when I see a coworker with a vibrant, spontaneous personality cracking jokes and making them laugh. And then, I would take over and it's all somber...
    ditto.. but then I know I just have to accept myself, If i seem to be a bORING companion then so be it..

    “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” - Mark Twain
    Last edit by kismetRN on Sep 11, '13
    CountyRat, tokebi, and GrnTea like this.
  6. Visit  CountyRat profile page
    Quote from tokebi
    Part of my problem is that I over-analyze what I should say and how I should act, and even all kinds of possible repercussions!
    First of all, you handled a painful situation extremely well. There was no more that you could have said or done than what you did. Which leads to . . .

    Second, the reason that you "over-analyze" is that you are under a delusion common to those of us in the healing professions; we think that, in these situations, there is a "right" thing to do, but we recognize that what we say is not mattering enough. Here is why . . .

    We think that we matter. We think that if we just said the right words we would relieve their pain. No one has that power, not even those super stars that always look like they know what to do. They don't. There is nothing to do. We are just a piece of scenery. We have no special power. We have only one thing: we stay there

    We stay there, and let the patient feel what he is feeling without having to be alone. We stay there. They cry, and we are there. They express terror or rage, and we are there. We understand that their pain is not a problem, it is what they are supposed to feel; and we are not a solution; we are just a prop in the story of the worst day of their lives. We stay there so that they do not have to be alone unless they want to be. We do not offer solutions because there is no problem to solve. The way they feel, the pain they feel, is exactly the right thing for them to be feeling. By staying there (or leaving, if they ask us to) we show them that we are not afraid of their pain or repelled by their tears. We see and hear their pain, but we are not afraid, we are not repelled.

    That's all.

    And one last thing; I am proud of you.
    Last edit by CountyRat on Sep 19, '13
    Esme12, kismetRN, and tokebi like this.
  7. Visit  tokebi profile page
    CountyRat, I sincerely thank you for your insight.

    I had been told something very similar in the past. How could I have forgotten this? I once talked to a counselor after witnessing a crime. I was so hung up on feelings of guilt for the fact that I couldn't do anything for the victim bleeding out. The counselor pointed out if I wasn't placing undue amount of self-importance when in fact what I did or didn't do probably didn't matter in the greater scheme of things.

    A hero who saves lives.
    An angel who banishes pain.

    We all have these ideas, I suppose. Also, I think, it is good to have an ideal to strive for.

    But, the reality is, as you said:

    Quote from CountyRat
    we are just a prop in the story of the worst day of their lives.
    That is so... poignant.
    Esme12 and CountyRat like this.
  8. Visit  Ptrv12 profile page
    I agree with others that you did fine. I have worked on an oncology floor for a little over a year and also wonder how other nurses handle things. I on the other hand, am conversational with my patients and a lot of them open up to me. I do admit I used to get very sad all the time for them and cry but now I pretty much can deal with my emotions but still have the hear and there slip ups of crying. It's not so much that I fell sorry for them but I feel for their loved ones and I too get frustrated on not knowing what to do. A lot of the time I just stand there and listen because that's all I can do. I think many times all they want is a listening ear so you did just fine. I also wonder how other oncology nurses handle wanting to cry at work. It had been a long while since I cried at work until recently wen this one patient really got to me, I felt helpless for that patient and their loved ones. I would love to hear how some nurses handle situations like when a patient says " why should we do anything for them when they are dying anyway?" Because that is what my patient told me. I think you handled your situation well and we are all human and cry sometimes.
    CountyRat likes this.
  9. Visit  CountyRat profile page
    Ptrv, you do not "slip up" when you cry. What do you think that you are supposed to feel when you stare into another human being's tragedy? The time for us to worry is when we can no longer cry for our patients.

    Be gentle with yourself, Ptrv.

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