Thank You for Nothing - page 5

by Ashley, PICU RN 42,915 Views | 48 Comments

As nurses, it’s our job to make patients better, to improve their lives in some way. For acute care nurses, the goal is to help patients recover from an illness, surgery, or accident. Rehab nurses help patients reach their... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from janfrn
    Congratulations to Ashley for this First Prize-winning article. Well done!
    Awesome! There was a contest?
  2. 5
    Mindlor - Nurses disagree all the time. You are entitled to your opinion. Regardless, the article has more to offer than it's first sentence. You should finish it to find out what that is. My suggestion as you continue on in your nursing career is to try and consider viewpoints that differ from yours with a spirit of acceptance. It may help you when your patients or family members believe or act in ways you find unacceptable.
    LovedRN, nkochrn, CrazierThanYou, and 2 others like this.
  3. 1
    Quote from mindlor
    A nurses job is advocate and care for patients as they progress through their life span, whatever that life span may be.
    this is true, mindlor.
    and so, for a baby to have survived his prognosis by sev'l months...
    then to finally decline more painful and futile treatments, on an already terminal baby...
    isn't that advocacy at its finest?

    ashley - what can i say?
    beautiful, eloquent, sensitively portrayed story.
    congrats, honey.

    leslie
    CrazierThanYou likes this.
  4. 8
    Quote from mindlor
    Just as I expected, a few replies with nothing more than personal attacks with nothing further to add that has any intellectual basis or value....sad
    That is not really a personal attack; it is advice that should be taken.
    Students are very protected in what they see and do. They have little to no true experience. Those of us who have spent decades in a career understand that death is a natural part of life and one MUST learn to understand and accept this. You will never be able to help families otherwise.

    When I was a mid 20's year old nurse in ICU I cared for a man who had fallen off his roof, head first, onto the driveway. He was brain-dead on arrival. I was with him and his wife when his V/S dropped.

    She panicked, "What is happening? What is going on?"
    I said "The alarms are going off as his body is slowing down from the brain damage."
    "What do we do? What do we do?"
    As I frequently did, I said just what popped into my head at that moment. "You say 'Goodbye' to him." While she stared at me for a moment, my mind raced, "Why did I say that? (though I do believe in angel-whispers that slip out) What will she think? That sounded so cold...."
    Then she smiled wanly and replied, "Yes, you are right. May I be alone with him?"
    I pulled the curtain on our window and shut the door on my way out.

    I went over and silenced his alarms while nurses asked me what was going on. I told them and they just stared too. In about 15 minutes she came out and thanked me. In HER maturity at being the grown up who knew it was time to say goodbye (the doctors had already told her there was no hope), she formed my character at helping future families to cope with their losses.

    Until you actually go through these things, you have no idea how you will respond.
    oinch97, LovedRN, cyntrim, and 5 others like this.
  5. 0
    Thank you Ashley.! Many tears flowed...
  6. 0
    Finally someone can put into words how I often feel. In hospice often times I feel like I am doing nothing and feel guilty for being thanked for "all I've done" when I've really done nothing except just be.
  7. 0
    What I loved most about this story is that the parents were blessed with a second chance, a second life, this time a healthy baby. In the despair of losing their child, they were blessed with the care and compassion of a nurse who let them know it was ok to let go, which was important in order for them to prepare to love their new baby. Nursing is an intense career choice. Advocating for patients sometimes goes far beyond the patient. It may also involve extending oneself to the family/caregivers... This is not something learned in nursing school...Thank you for sharing Ashley... Doing nothing and everything you possibly can for each patient/family is what I believe nursing is all about. Empathy... If only it could be put in a box and handed to every nurse upon graduation
    Last edit by SweetPEI on Feb 1, '12 : Reason: Typo
  8. 0
    All I could say while reading this article was, "Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh!!! What a beautiful article ashley picu wrote about such a horrific tragedy in the life and times of one baby and his family and the nurse that most definitely made a difference in all their lives.

    Thank God for nurses like you. You've improved my opinion about nurses and the nursing profession in general as I've been in not such a nice place for the past 6 years. Its people like you that all patients and families require and wish they could have in times of tragedy and pain; and although nurses like you may not make your patients well or see families through happy endings, there are moments of happiness that you share with your patients and families.

    Maybe not the same kind of happiness for example, the happiness a nurse witnesses after she supports a woman in labor for hours upon hours when finally her labor pains stop and joy emerges with the birth of a healthy baby, or the joy of watching the mother view her perfect creation of life for the first time, what you do as a nurse far outweighs making somebody well, as in a lot of instances the human body does this all by itself with very little help from another human being. You provide comfort and care to human beings in pain, and agony, small human beings that haven't a glimmer of hope for becoming older, wiser, missing most all opportunities in life, however, you provide the best care possible and provide the best of love and support that you can in such a short time frame.

    You are the one that the child and family will grow to trust and in time, welcome your knowledge and presence, possibly just a little in the beginning while still in denial, then more during their childs long stay, and then make you a mandatory presence in their lives and their sometimes long and pain filled journey when the end has finally come.

    Don't you ever forget that you are the one that can provide invaluable experiences to the child and family while they are going through the toughest times of their lives. Teaching them the things that you have experienced from time spent with other patients, what works, what doesn't, providing meds that comfort and ease the dying process while remaining present for the family when they feel they cant go on. if only they could go home and in doing so would make everything okay again and back to what they are familiar with, whats suppose to be but isn't.

    So here's to you those nurses that are not only knowledgeable but are filled w/ compassion and empathy for their patients and families that must bare such a blow to their minds, bodies and souls, a blow that only one who's experienced this kind of loss can understand, the kind of blow that never goes away, that lasts forever and can tend to sneak up on you for no good reason at all when your least expecting it, and when it does the pain is as raw as it was when it first happened, when you first lost your loved one or child. But it does get easier with the passing of time. It doesn't feel like it ever will but in time their pain will soften. ( I only say this because of my experiences of losing 2 loved ones in a very short time),

    As I learned at a very young age not to tell somebody that you know what they are going through if you yourself have never experienced it. There is nothing that can compare to the pain and sorrow of losing a child. Nothing.

    Thank you nurse for being there when it mattered, when it counted, for sharing your laughter, your stories, your support, your strength and last but not least, your tears with your grieving family as I believe that this only shows your human side, for nurses grieve too while caring for their patients they know they are going to lose.

    Thank you for not being afraid to show your emotions because in doing so only displays the sincere love and appreciation that you have for allowing such gifts as your patient and patients family to allow you to become close to them and care for and about them during some of worst times in their lives.

    Thank you for allowing your patients to die with dignity and respect when there is NOTHING ELSE TO DO. You will be remembered by those families of the patients that you took such good care of. And after its all said and done the family will look back with relief knowing that you provided their loved ones with comfort and a peaceful death which in turn allowed them to feel more comfortable knowing that their loved ones died peacefully and comfortably.

    It takes a strong dedicated person to do what you do day after day. Make sure that you take care of yourself and your emotions from time to time, your patients and families are counting on you and for that you can be proud.
    Last edit by dianah on Feb 12, '12 : Reason: formatting
  9. 0
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    As a student and NOT a nurse yet, you may be better served if you would shut the front door and LISTEN to what nurses are talking about, before you judge what sort of "mindset" they should have.

    Just saying........
    No worries, VivaLasViejas. Someone who is unable to open their eyes, ears, or heart and learn something will soon find that this profession is not for them.


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