New Grad and Patient's Who Hit Close to Home

  1. 2 Hi Everyone,

    I recently starting work as a float pool nurse as a part of my new grad orientation I have started on a neuro unit.

    This past winter my boyfriend was in a serious snowboarding accident (fractures of his spine.. had spinal fusion surgery). I stayed with him in hospital until he came home.

    Anyway, I got a patient assignment of a young girl who had been in a serious MVA. (Her doc actually wrote it's a mircle she is alive). Her boyfriend has been staying over. After meeting him and her and reading their story I started to cry at the nursing station. I excused myself and went in our report room. I just couldn't help but think this could have been my boyfriend and I (who now he is currently ok and walking)..

    I want to ask how do other nurses handle these types of days?? I am sure everyone who has had a patient that has hit close to home..
    Am I being crazy, crying on shift??

    Thank you for your responses
  2. Tags
    Visit  canadianjess profile page

    About canadianjess

    Joined Jul '13; Posts: 11; Likes: 4.

    16 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  Bruce_Wayne profile page
    7
    You didn't become a nurse because you don't care, so don't beat yourself up for being a compassionate human being. You will probably become a little more detached and clinical as you get more experience, but hopefully you'll never lose your compassion.
    opossum, Sun0408, KJM-RN, and 4 others like this.
  4. Visit  MrsClarkRN profile page
    1
    I work on an oncology/hospice unit and we definitely ALL have those days...you won't get "used" to it but you'll get a bit thicker skin and continue to go above and beyond for your patients.
    NurseDirtyBird likes this.
  5. Visit  IEDave profile page
    5
    Crazy? Nope - just being a nurse.

    Part of my reason for getting a CNA certificate was to work in situations where I might/would witness a patient die. My concern was whether my experience with my mother's passing might cause an emotional backlash that would make me unsuitable for nursing.

    I had several patients pass on while I worked in LTC; while I had emotional responses to their passing, they were more of a bittersweet nature, and not emotionally incapacitating.

    My guess is that with time you'll get a bit more accustomed to incidents like this - and that every once in awhile you'll spend some time crying about it. Seems to go with the territory.

    ----- Dave
    opossum, timmedico, priorities2, and 2 others like this.
  6. Visit  canadianjess profile page
    2
    Thank you for your replies! It makes me feel better .. You are all very right we got into nursing because we care. It's nice to read words of support.
    NurseDirtyBird and Esme12 like this.
  7. Visit  xoemmylouox profile page
    0
    Your life experiences are useful. You can understand their fears, frustrations, and hope. You will have those days, we all do.
  8. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    6
    Quote from canadianjess
    Hi Everyone,

    I recently starting work as a float pool nurse as a part of my new grad orientation I have started on a neuro unit.

    This past winter my boyfriend was in a serious snowboarding accident (fractures of his spine.. had spinal fusion surgery). I stayed with him in hospital until he came home.

    Anyway, I got a patient assignment of a young girl who had been in a serious MVA. (Her doc actually wrote it's a mircle she is alive). Her boyfriend has been staying over. After meeting him and her and reading their story I started to cry at the nursing station. I excused myself and went in our report room. I just couldn't help but think this could have been my boyfriend and I (who now he is currently ok and walking)..

    I want to ask how do other nurses handle these types of days?? I am sure everyone who has had a patient that has hit close to home..
    Am I being crazy, crying on shift??

    Thank you for your responses
    We do what you did....go to the bathroom...recoup...regain composure and go back to work.

    Then when you leave you decompress and sing happy songs at the top of your lungs in the car.....you go home and kiss your family...have a large bowl of comfort food...a bubble bath and sometimes...an adult beverage.

    Welcome to nursing .....((HUGS))
    opossum, richmay, amoLucia, and 3 others like this.
  9. Visit  melizerd profile page
    0
    Totally normal and no one will ever think less of you for that.

    When I was doing my CNA training I had a patient who had Multiple Sclerosis and I had to leave the room because it hit too close to home for my family, it was a really similar case. My instructor was amazing about it really and we talked about it. I learned to deal with my emotions and I don't become overwhelmed at EVERY case anymore. You do learn to deal with it but you should never lose your compassion either.
  10. Visit  Panasonic profile page
    0
    I second melizerd's comments: totally normal.

    I've cried at work for the same reasons and a couple times for personal reasons. Excusing yourself and letting the feelings flow was a good thing to do. Cases that are difficult will continue to come your way; you will still feel for people and react emotionally, but it will get easier. Sure makes you appreciate what you have, right?
  11. Visit  CapeCodMermaid profile page
    6
    We all have had patients who remind us of family members or friends. You learn to distance yourself from them while still caring. You have to develop some sort of coping mechanism or you will burn out quickly.
    I sing....at work....at home....everywhere. It gets me out of a funk. I also correct people's spelling and grammar on Allnurses. Patients in your title does NOT need an apostrophe. It is plural, not possessive.
    Teacup Pom, imintrouble, Carlalily, and 3 others like this.
  12. Visit  RN&mom profile page
    0
    I have a special needs son who has a lot of problems and while I've never run into anyone with his exact condition (it's about 1 in 12,000 live births)... I find I connect with those with any special needs child or especially those that are full time care givers for a family member. I can understand their struggles because my son will always need round the clock care. It can create an emotional reaction and excusing yourself is absolutely the right thing to do. It does get better with time but never goes away completely. We are in this buisness because we care...
  13. Visit  GrnTea profile page
    2
    I want to add that while every nurse with heartstrings has days when they get plucked long and hard, when you find yourself at or near the point of tears more often than not, even as a new nurse, you should act promptly to seek out some assistance in setting boundaries and coping with other people's problems. You need to have a healthy set of those skills to stay in nursing or you will find yourself number one in the burnout line, and be of no use to anyone. Not harsh, just... been there, done that, seen it more often than I can say. You must get some perspective on this. Please take care of yourself before you try to take care of others who will depend on your steadiness.
    amoLucia and melizerd like this.
  14. Visit  KelRN215 profile page
    1
    I've had a few of those experiences, being a brain tumor survivor myself and having started my career in pediatric neurology, neurosurgery and neuro-oncology. I once took care of a child with a tumor very similar to my own... a tumor that isn't supposed to be fatal but his was unusually aggressive and it started to grow rapidly and ended up taking his very young life. My first shift back after he died, I was assigned to another brain tumor patient who happened to be a 17 year old girl who was from my town/went to my high school. I was a 17 year old senior in high school when I was diagnosed. She, also, was dying. And did I mention this was all happening exactly one year after I had an MRI that had revealed a possible recurrence and that it was the end of the worst year of my life? That was a particularly horrible time.
    GrnTea likes this.


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