When your patient dies.....

  1. .....do you get time to collect yourself before you have to take the next patient?

    Does your hospital acknowledge the work you did with a patient you have cared for that has died?

    What do you WISH they would say or do,etc when a patient you have cared for dies?
    Last edit by Otessa on Jan 11, '07
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   cardiacRN2006
    I'd like to have some more time once a pt dies because the paperwork is a nightmare.
  4. by   meownsmile
    No,,and NO.. as far as the last question,, we have access to our hospital chaplain if we need him, after the paperwork is done.
    As far as what we WISH they would do..... get enough staff so we can tend to the surviving family that is present as well as we tried to care for the patient. Fat chance that will happen though. We just keep on going and do what we have to do.
  5. by   Otessa
    As far as what we WISH they would do..... get enough staff so we can tend to the surviving family that is present as well as we tried to care for the patient. Fat chance that will happen though. We just keep on going and do what we have to do.[/quote]


    would someone anonymously giving you a poem,note etc. acknowledging and honoring the work you do be at ALL helpful?
  6. by   GardenDove
    Quote from cardiacRN2006
    I'd like to have some more time once a pt dies because the paperwork is a nightmare.
    Spoken like a true veteran...

    Usually the death is expected hopefully. Just let the family handle it privately, it's their loved one. Empathy is good, hand and hand with detachment.
  7. by   UM Review RN
    Time to collect myself really depends on a few variables: On nights, it depends on how busy the unit is, how well I'm functioning, and which Charge nurse is on (the one that likes me and will let me take 5 minutes to cry and get a cup of coffee, or the one that is secretly enjoying my pain and will happily overload me so she and her buds can go smoke?)

    Does the hospital acknowledge the work I've done. *snort* Well, that's the best laugh I've had all day. The family might, especially if it was a long-term patient. Oddly, the patients I remember the most who died were actually only my patients for a few minutes or a few hours, so there wasn't that much in the way of "care" involved. Now the Onco units get a lot of recognition from the hospital--and IMO, they should. I could never do Onco.

    When a patient dies on my unit (Cardiac), they usually are not supposed to be dying, so it's very traumatic for all of us. I do wish that we could have a Code debriefing after our shift is done, with all the principals involved. Usually we just debrief ourselves and comfort one another, and take a break.

    No one is an island with a Coding or dying patient. Everyone is affected. Everyone has a role and everyone has an equally valid story to tell.
  8. by   Otessa
    I have been an RN for 15 years .

    I know paperwork needs to be done.

    Would a mandatory 15-30 minutes to collect yourself before having to take report on a new patient "waiting in the wings" be helpful?

    When a pt. dies and sometimes it CAN be unexpected (especially in ICU/CCU) would you welcome some kind words or a gesture of some sort? I'm looking for ideas here....we are attempting to impliment SOMETHING...but not sure what would be taken the best by the majority of nurses. We'll be brainstorming over the next couple weeks but I want some input from people who are NOT in our organization as well....
  9. by   Otessa
    No one is an island with a Coding or dying patient. Everyone is affected. Everyone has a role and everyone has an equally valid story to tell

    we are actually looking at acknowledging ALL involved (unit clerks, CNAs,etc) in the care of the patient being acknowledged(I need to look for a synonym for that...not QUITE the right fit..)
  10. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from Otessa
    I have been an RN for 15 years .

    I know paperwork needs to be done.

    Would a mandatory 15-30 minutes to collect yourself before having to take report on a new patient "waiting in the wings" be helpful?

    When a pt. dies and sometimes it CAN be unexpected (especially in ICU/CCU) would you welcome some kind words or a gesture of some sort? I'm looking for ideas here....we are attempting to impliment SOMETHING...but not sure what would be taken the best by the majority of nurses. We'll be brainstorming over the next couple weeks but I want some input from people who are NOT in our organization as well....
    It would be kind if you could not send another admit as soon as the bed is cleaned, and let the next shift take that admit. In fact, it would be nicest if you could declare a bit of a hold on all admits to that unit for a couple of hours until everyone adjusted emotionally, get the body and room presentable, and caught up on the paperwork.

    We had a very messy, unsuccessful Code once, and it took 3 of us an hour and a half to get the room and body viewable for the family (which included small children).

    It would be kind if the Unit had some little gesture, like some beverages or snacks, brought, because as someone else pointed out, there is usually a lot of work involved, and emotions are running high. At that time, I think it would be great to make an offer a debriefing of some sort after the shift.
  11. by   TazziRN
    Ideally when we lose a pt the lead nurse takes care of the paperwork and phone calls while the other nurse takes the rest of the ER. I have, in the past and on a really bad day, tucked one body in a room to await pickup and had another pt code a few beds over. At that time there was only one RN on duty at a time, so I was by myself with a tech.
  12. by   jrolph
    I'm a student nurse and tonight I had my first patient die. Before today, I've never watched anyone die or had it be my patient. It was really a busy and draining day. I was lucky to have the support of other classmates and my nurse preceptors were great. I know it will be difficult to loose another patient, but I was fortunate to be with people that wanted to help and be there for me. Even though I was somewhat stoic, it helped that the other nurses cared enough to give advice and talk about what happened.

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