Sexual Abuse Enlightenment for Teen and Nurse

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    Upon finishing my last semester for my ASN degree, I had clinicals at a psychiatric hospital. I was assigned a teenage female patient who had made her second attempt at suicide by ingesting pills.

    As I sat and talked with this teenager who had many problems including anxiety, depression, and trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling) ... she seemed like a lost soul. She gave the dutiful answers, agreed to talk to me and talked somewhat openly about why she did what she did.

    She stated that she was tired of always being made fun of at school because of being "almost bald"; she had moved around so much during her 13 years and did not have a stable home life, she had few friends who accepted her as she was and genuinely talked as if she were years older than her stated age.

    She sat on the bed and looked down at her feet when she talked and stated she had previously tried hanging herself but was discovered before the last fateful moment. She had been in and out of "facilities" and "counseling" all of her life and just wanted to be a "normal girl".

    Most of all, she wanted to feel pretty, be happy and look forward to waking up every day. She made good grades in school, but did not belong to any clubs or after school programs. She went home to help take care of her siblings.

    After spending some time with her, I felt that she was holding something back - she hesitated to talk about certain parts of her life.

    I asked her if there was anything that she wanted to share with me, anything that she just was tired of holding in and wanted to get off of her chest. She asked if I would sit next to her and just listen. I agreed and told her that whatever she chose to tell me that it would not be confidential as I was bound by law to report our discussion. She agreed and proceeded to talk to me. She stated that for some reason she felt comfortable with me.

    She relayed that she had been being sexually abused by her mother's multiple boyfriends since age 6 and felt that she felt that she did not get to have a childhood. She felt as this changed her course in life, affected her self-esteem, pride and validity as a girl/woman. We sat and talked for more than our alloted time and she cried, I comforted, listened and assured her that nothing she had experienced was her fault and told her that telling her therapist would be the most therapeutic relief and life changing event that would help her emotionally, physically and mentally.

    When our time was over I reported to my clincial leader and her therapist the story, name, dates of her alleged abuser and was astonished/proud to hear her therapist say that she had never relayed this information to anyone, in all of the years that she had been in therapy and that she must have felt a "connection" with me to share this information. This was what she was hoping for; a breakthrough for this beautiful young girl.

    I truly felt "connected" to this young girl and this experience made such an impact on my life as a student, as a future nurse, as a mother, and just as a human being that I honestly believe she touched me more than I touched her. She changed my life - you see, the one thing that I could not and did not share with her was that I was sexually abused as a child and had never told a soul - not even my husband of 18 years.

    I went home that night and cried a river of tears, sat and talked with my husband and even admitted this information to my wonderful in-laws and felt that day like I had gained a new perspective on my life, person, and self-esteem. Today, I have graduated with my ASN and am awaiting to take State Boards and hope to be able to touch someone else like I did with my patient.

    This is the reason why I chose to become a nurse; the compassion, the understanding and sometimes just the hand holding and listening makes all of the other harried and crazy stuff just "stuff".
    Last edit by Joe V on Mar 18, '08
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    About detra

    Joined: Jan '08; Posts: 9; Likes: 11
    RN - OB/L&D
    Specialty: Labor & Delivery, Orthopedics

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  3. by   Journey_On
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's absolutely an amazing feeling, to tell someone something that you have never shared before - I know this personally as I am also a survivor of CSA. I am so glad that you were there for your patient and that she trusted you to share her experience.
  4. by   Joe V
    very powerful message .. thank you for taking the time to share this with us
    Last edit by Joe V on Mar 18, '08
  5. by   dvy_dnsh
    i really dont belive that someone has that much impact on someone really it proves u r a dedicated nurse. i must thanks to u to disclose this story
  6. by   Heath00
    Hello. I love your story! I graduate in May with my LPN. I am currently a CNA. I have been a CNA for about 7 yrs. I was just wondering if anyone knows how as an LPN I could get a job helping with sexual abuse? Is there any certain title out there or do you have to be an RN for those kinds of jobs? Im very interested in helping children/teens with sexual abuse. I myself have been sexually abused and I just feel I could really help many out there. Thank you.