Quote from Ashley, PICU RN
So I've reached a point with a patient that I think most of us get to at one point. This is the first time in my short career as a PICU nurse that I've really 'taken work home' and can recognize that I'm spending too much time thinking about this case.
Without sharing details, I've reached the point where I don't think another nurse can care for this family as well as I can. Not medically, because I know all my co-workers are incredible nurses, but emotionally and socially. I've been taking care of this patient for the past several weeks, and more recently the past two days. I have spent significant amounts of time talking to this child's mom, and I've been able to advocate for her and really connect with her. I'm not working today, and it's honestly tearing me up because I'm concerned that there isn't anyone with her who knows will be able to listen and care for her like I could.
So that's my dilemma. I'm at the point where I understand that I am too close to this case, but not at the point where I would begin to know how to distance myself, or even if I could.
Ashley....I like you. I read your posts and you are bright, articulate, and professional. But we are human. I see in your posts that you REALLY LOVE....being a nurse. I too, have become too attached, to a couple of patients in my career. Patients that have deeply affected me emotionally.
I had a little girl I cared for many years ago that was struck by a car (I'm thinking of you angel) that I can cry about to this very day. I cared for her relentlessly, expertly, effectively, and caringly. If I was off for a few days... I would call and check on her and I thought of her constantly. there were a few time that I would not be able to care for her when I came in as someone else would have her and it drove me nuts (and I drove them nuts
). My co-workers knew me trusted me and let me love this little girl. When the day came that we had to determine brain death......I HAD to be the one to go to the tests. I needed to know MYSELF, without a doubt....that she was gone.....so I could look at her mother and KNOW she's gone. Most of all I NEEDED the closure. I needed to know as I removed her form life support to place her in her mothers arms for the first time in weeks....to die. I cried as she sang her a lullaby and I cried when her mother so distraught that she would still be cut up for the autopsy (despite all my efforts, she refused donation
) Because I loved that little girl I was able to give her mother peace in her heart before she left that day. Right up to zipping up the coroners bag, at which I became unglued, I loved that little girl and her Mom. So, yes I have cried at work and I'm proud.
That was now.....almost 20 years ago, how time flies.
Here's my advice. Keep perspective. Keep your judgement. Make sure you are still able to act on emergencies and perform your job. Acknowledge your feelings but don't be afraid to care. Keep yourself busy on your days off and chastise yourself if you think you are getting carried away......but ALLOW YOURSLF TO CARE!!!!
Hey little angel I thought of you today!!!