Unloading - how do you as a nurse debrief

  1. We recently had a nasty accident locally in the community - our full time chaplain at our organisation is also the chaplain for one of our emergency services - he went to this accident - he tends to debrief with us the next day - anyway during our discussion he asked do l know if the nurses at our local acute sector use their chalpains to debrief - l asked a friend who used to work there this question and it was a negative response.

    My question is how many people would have chaplains support (L guess l should ask what size your organisation) and is the service there as a support for your staff - if so do the staff use them and if not how do you debrief - As nurses in all areas really - we all see death and traumatic situations - how do you cope - who do you unwind with -
    Years ago when we trained we were in the nursing home and we could unload with each other and in confidence- who do the new graduates talk to - is this part of the problem of not retaining staff??

    so many questions - the conversation made me reflect - would value your reflections also.

    Cheers Tookie:
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   micro
    Good question and appropriate thought for nurses day and week...........to all in this caring and some days very trying profession that we feel drawn to and in............

    for myself only.......
    on the drive home i listen to good music,
    or totally change my mindset and listen to good talk radio.....
    sometimes i come here on all nurses.......
    sometimes i do shed a tear, cause it is okay to care.......
    do i ever talk to a chaplain to destress.......yes, because where i am the chaplains, especially a couple rock............they're are the most open and nondenom/nonjudgemental people i know
    i write................
    i dance..............
    i walk the dog..................
    i generic calgon take me away..........
    i ...........................................
    and i ensure that i am not always a nurse......or even in a nurses mindset............


    happy nurses day everybody..............
    nurses rock........!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edit by micro on May 5, '02
  4. by   mattsmom81
    Great thread, Tookie! Loved your post too Micro! Happy Nurses' Week to everyone!!

    Sure wish our chaplains would avail themselves to staff but it doesn't happen. My experience : we're just 'expected' to be able to handle things....we wear so many hats and chaplain is ones..(:
    But who will care for the caregiver??

    I'm sure this is why nurses hang with other nurses to vent...the way cops do...who else knows what we're going through? Even my DH cannot really relate to what I bring home after a traumatic shift..but he tries.

    As charge I try to have a group debrief if something out of the ordinary occurs...so we can talk it out, learn, etc. Sometimes though just NO time..
  5. by   shay
    At the first hospital where I ever had a job, the chaplains were regularly called in to help the staff cope after a pt. death (this was a NICU job). Apparently, some of the staff went to the 'services' and found them useful and helpful.

    I've always just relied on my fellow nurse friends to 'debrief' after something crappy. I know it sounds horrid, but unless it was a Catholic priest (and now after all the scandal there, I'm not so sure), I wouldn't trust the chaplain to keep my comments private. I can just see them 'sharing my concerns' with management and it coming back to bite me in the butt.

    If I need to talk about something, I talk to my nurse friends. Luckily I have 3 very close friends who are nurses...2 are in different states than me, and one works at a different hospital, so they can give me an 'objective' point of view but at the same time understand what I'm going through.
  6. by   fedupnurse
    I have gotten pretty good about leaving work at work. When I clock out that is it. I am also fortunate enough t live ina very beautiful part of the country and I take full advantage of taking that beauty in. Walk the dog. Watch comedies. Have 2 sets of friends: Nurses/healthcare people and people who have nothing to do with healthcare. Both help me keep things in perspective. This job definetly makes you see how precious life is.
  7. by   fergus51
    They just fired our chaplain about a week and a bit ago. He was a HUGE asset to staff who needed to debrief. Now we have nothing in place to help nurses deal with difficult emotions after stressful events.
  8. by   Mary Dover
    I agree - this is a wonderful thread at a wonderful time - NURSES WEEK.
    It is a valid quetion - WHO CARES FOR THE CAREGIVER?
    From where do we continue to draw our strength?

    I remember a few years ago, after a hurricane caused devastation to so many people in my state - the state allocated funds for people who were traumatized by the storm and its' results. I kept thinking how scared I was by that storm that seemed to just go on and on relentlessly that night, while my family and I just huddled together, and I just kept praying for it to be over soon.
    No, I didn't consider myself traumatized to any degree. But looking back - I sometimes wondered why. After the storm, I returned to my job as crisis/triage nurse at the mental health facility where I worked - so I was the one to initially see some of those seeking the crisis counseling that had been set up. No time for me to be traumatized. Is it because as some have asked - we're supposed to be able to suck things up and deal with them? Well personally I thank God if I do have that ability. And having said that - maybe such a characteristic is why some are drawn into the nursing profession. But bottom line is, we're all still ONLY human, and I know that empathy and concern for others goes a long way.
    Mattsmom - you hit the nail on the head about hanging with other nurses. That's one thing I love about being a part of this bb.
  9. by   micro
    i think sometimes it is an art of detachment.......
    not that i ever totally do, but as so many before have stated more eloquently than, lastly mary dover
    there is no time to let it sink in, so we do just suck it up.....do out job............
    sometimes it comes through, and those times we need to ensure that we get it out........so we can face another day and another patient.........
    great nurses day and week all, generic calgon away to all
    lots and lots of nursing love
  10. by   finallyRN
    I work in Labor and Delivery, which most of the time is a very happy place to work. However, when things are sad it seems all the more difficult to deal with. Luckily the staff i work with is great and we are able to discuss our feelings with those who are experiencing the same grief we are. My boyfriend is also in the health care industry (RT) so I am able to come home and vent with him. He understands because he knows the business. I think sometimes, we have to look amoungst ourselves as nurses to help "debrief" from difficult situations. We all know what it is out there.
  11. by   canoehead
    You know the chaplin is available to staff as is an employee assistance program but I would bet that not many of the staff know how to access those services. Thanks for the brain nudge, it would be a good thing to talk about on "Nurse's Day"
  12. by   hoolahan
    I have gone to my own private minister in crisis, I never even considered our hospital chaplain. I just feel comfortable with my pastor, and I am quite sure he would never betray my confidence.

    Our NM has called the EAP to do group debriefs when I worked in PICU/SICU, especially if there had been a number of peds deaths close together. It was very helpful to me and many of the nurses.
  13. by   Tookie
    Thank you for replying - it gives me a litttle more to think about -

    Fergus it sounds that you are really disapointed about losing your chaplain - i think you have mentioned it in a number of posts - He/she must have been effective to make such an impact

    I have been thinking about this a little further today at work - we have got students( thier first time) on placement at the moment - As part of their program we set up debrief times, thay also met our chaplain - he talks to them about greif and loss - and handling death within an aged setting during thier 80 hour placement - This also occurs with our staff - and l beleive that a number of staff see him when and as they they wish - He is very conscious about their privacy - for example he has organised a door (direct /discreet) into his office so that staff do not have to walk past other employees

    anyway my thoughts were today - we are aware as older nurses to try and nuture 'new nurses' when they start nursing - to talk to them about empathy and journalling and all those aspects that wern't around when l trained - however what happens to them when they get out into the real world - horizontal violence- and all that *****iness that can go on - l apply that word to both sexes there

    In almost every place l have worked staff will be critical and unsupportive of each other - particularly of new staff (no matter how many years they have been in the game) - in my role at work it is a constant challenge to support staff not only to improve thier skills but to keep them in the job - it is no wonder when we are short staffed and poorly paid in the aged care sector ( I beleive all sectors of nursing this applies to ) you have trouble keeping staff when they dont feel supported by their 'team mates'

    The question is how do we overcome this - how do we nuture them - we complain because of lack of staff and violence towards us from patients/ clients whatever - however l am feeling at the moment we need to look to ourselves and reduce the violence - be that verbal or emotional or what ever between ourselves.

    I will finish this with stating that l believe that the 'nurses' who fit into this catergory are very much in the minority - unfortunately they affect or flow on to so many others.

    Rambling thoughts - l feel its been a long day and l cant quite get these thoughts together. Apoligise for the confused thoughts and spelling mistakes - the most important thing is to me -

    I still love my job and my profession

    Tookie
  14. by   dawngloves
    I call my mom, I hug my babies. It helps
    My husband is no help when it comes to my work woes (he's in computers, LOL!).

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