Doubting if I have "what it takes" emotionally.

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    I'm currently on a Peds rotation and I get so depressed about my patients I go home crying. I see that my instructor and the nurses are able to detach themselves from the situation but I can't even fathom being able to do so. When I see a sick baby crying I can't for the life of me figure out how a nurse is supposed to walk out of the room to attend to her other duties much less inflict more pain on that baby. All I want to do is hug them and kiss them; and I get so angry that there are rarely parents there holding the baby all the time. I know its unreasonable and that is my own personal hang-up, but I can't control how I feel. I do manage not to let anyone see my emotions while I'm there but its very hard! Now I'm wondering how I'm going to be able to be a nurse if I always take work home with me and it drains me so much. *sigh*

    If anyone has any techniques for learning to detach emotionally I sure would like to know them. My instructor is a little intimidating and I'm pretty sure I would just get a "cowboy up" if I brought this to her and my classmates seem to be doing fine with it.

    Thank you
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    The patient is the one with the disease. (The Fat Man's Law, #4, Shem)

    You can't control your feelings but you can, and must, and will learn to control how they affect your ability to function in the role of a registered nurse. All the nurses you see around you, including your instructor, are not cold heartless robots; they have just gotten further in their educations than you have.

    Part of your clinical experiences is learning to do exactly that-- develop a stronger sense of coping with the world's pains and fears. It's part of learning how to be a nurse. If you can see that as part of your learning goals, every much as those manipulative tasks and assessment skills, you will be a long way towards learning how to accomplish it.
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    Even the most 'experienced' of us have some types of patients that affect us more than others. As a CC nurse, I found it very difficult to detach emotionally from 'little ones'. Part of it was due to extreme empathy (I'm a mom) and part due to ethical concerns - ex: pain management in neonates, informed consent input from the patient, etc.... arrrrgh. So, I chose not to work in those areas.

    Even SuperNurses have their kryptonite. Peds may be yours.


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