The Emotional aspect to Nursing, how do you cope?

  1. 0
    Ok, so let me start off by saying. My name is Chris (maybe that was obvious by my name im not sure lol), I am currently certified as an EMT-B, and I am an 18 year old male. The whole I am macho and emotions dont affect me, thing isnt in me at all. Which is the reason why I am posting this topic.

    Now, as Nurses how exactly do you cope with some of things you see. Now maybe your seasoned and now its not such a biggie. But maybe when/if it was. How did you cope?

    I am a burn victim, flash fire back when I was 1 years old. It has never affected me really. Besides when I was growing up, sort of hiding it the best I could. But as i grew up it became a major influence on my decision to go into the nursing field. But to stay on topic, as I was doing one of my rotations in the ER as an EMT. This man came in from a stabbing, and i was able to do my duty (as much as an EMT is allowed to do), EKG help, etc. But then it came time for me to do CPR (for the first time ever on a real person) and I was doing it, but after my 2nd set. The Doc just said ok, someone call it. And as we all walked out of the room. I was like wow, I imagine this happening quite often, as a matter of fact it may even be more gruesome, involve kids, or involve other burn patients. And while it didnt frustrate me, I got upset that no matter what I may be able to do, or how much I know I just cant save everyone. So how have you, if any of you who have gone through that been able to look past it or have a brighter side of looking at it?
  2. 1,145 Visits
    Find Similar Topics
  3. 6 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    dear, i mean this kindly, so please don't get upset. you are only 18 and you haven't seen much yet (even though you think you have-- trust me, we've all been there) and recent advances in developmental neurology suggest that your brain won't be fully mature in handling emotions (among other things) for another six or so years. don't be in a big hurry to rush into these matters.

    as your education progresses, and your brain matures, and your emotions and experiences grow, you will find your own path on this. you really can't decide on one right now, today, and trust that it will always work for you, because i promise you, none of us are now what we were at 18, and no amount of trying to make it be that way will work. the only exceptions to this i see are hugely dysfunctional-- they are still 18 (or worse) internally and cannot grow up for a variety of reasons (substance abuse or traumatic brain injury, mostly). you are not there, i trust.

    as for me, i realized somewhere along the line that you do the best you can and move on. debriefing (with experienced peers/chaplain/msw) after a particularly painful experience is always good; repressing your sadness only works for so long, and then it will come out, probably at an inconvenient time. make time to grieve now and then-- book it on your calendar, really, then go to a private place and rail, weep, break ugly cheap dishes from a garage sale (wear eye protection-- you don't want to add an eye injury to your problems:d), or whatever you need to get it out of your system. know the symptoms of burnout and when to seek professional help-- there is no shame in that and it makes you more available emotionally to your family/significant others/ yourself most of all.

    but this is all waaaaaay in your future.
    sugarmagnoliaRN likes this.
  5. 0
    Thanks for your response, and I agree with everything you said. But, when I related my experience in the ER it was of no intention to say that Ive seen some crazy stuff. It was more so, to say I know alot of things will happen in my career as a Nurse. But if i made it seem like Ive seen it all lol I am sorry its not what i meant. And yeah, in EMT school we went over the different programs that were avilable to EMS when things got a bit overboard. Though i have yet to see much or utilize it, I have no pride issues of going to help when its available to me.
  6. 1
    I came up with my own philosophy after a patient I cared for deteriorated and died on my shift. In my school we have to write reflection papers about our clinical day, and for that day I had a hard time putting to words what I was feeling because I was so worried that I had somehow hastened his death. I never reflected more on a patient than in that paper. After going over the events of the day, the interventions I performed, the turn of events and his eventual death, I came to the conclusion that I did everything that I could for that patient on that day. This was a big source of relief for me and it changed me for future patients, because I had to acknowledge that his situation had been bleak from the start of my shift. So instead of focusing on his death, I was able to focus on how I had worked as hard as I could to make his last day on earth as comfortable and full of care as possible. To me that is very rewarding. Now when I care for patients, my focus is that 'at least for my shift, they are getting everything that they need'.
    The other thing you should also remember is that it's healthy to feel shocked and upset by what you see as an EMT. The fact that you are feeling these things shows your humanity. If you allow yourself to acknowledge that something was horrible, it can help you move on from it. You can find two extremes: people who can't function because they cannot process what happened, and people who have made themselves numb to ignore what's happening. It's healthiest to be right in the middle. I can't really speak for the EMT experience because I am a nursing student, but this is what has worked for me.
    sugarmagnoliaRN likes this.
  7. 0
    ive been an EMT for a couple of years, so i have experienced more death, disease, loss etc than i have as a nursing student.

    my inital reaction is of course shock., bc the reason we do this at all is to "save" people & help them right, and when they expire we feel as if we have failed.

    so, shock, anger, maybe sadness. I have never cried, but i get angry bc i feel very strongly about my work, in the sense that maybe i couldve done better.

    i think maybe as a nurse, i will carry this same mentality. Sometimes i feel as if im too cold. but maybe its because my interaction with my patient is so short term that i dont get to develop a bond/attachment.

    did this make any sense? LOL
  8. 0
    Quote from sandyfeet
    I came up with my own philosophy after a patient I cared for deteriorated and died on my shift. In my school we have to write reflection papers about our clinical day, and for that day I had a hard time putting to words what I was feeling because I was so worried that I had somehow hastened his death. I never reflected more on a patient than in that paper. After going over the events of the day, the interventions I performed, the turn of events and his eventual death, I came to the conclusion that I did everything that I could for that patient on that day. This was a big source of relief for me and it changed me for future patients, because I had to acknowledge that his situation had been bleak from the start of my shift. So instead of focusing on his death, I was able to focus on how I had worked as hard as I could to make his last day on earth as comfortable and full of care as possible. To me that is very rewarding. Now when I care for patients, my focus is that 'at least for my shift, they are getting everything that they need'.
    The other thing you should also remember is that it's healthy to feel shocked and upset by what you see as an EMT. The fact that you are feeling these things shows your humanity. If you allow yourself to acknowledge that something was horrible, it can help you move on from it. You can find two extremes: people who can't function because they cannot process what happened, and people who have made themselves numb to ignore what's happening. It's healthiest to be right in the middle. I can't really speak for the EMT experience because I am a nursing student, but this is what has worked for me.
    Yeah , I see what your saying. Thanks for the reply also! I know death happens, I dont freeze up at all, I actually am able to work efficiently in a high stress, fast environment. Its just people dying sucks no matter how you slice it. Ill have to develop the best outlook for me when the time comes. Even though I think I have a pretty caring one now.


    Quote from Pneumothorax
    ive been an EMT for a couple of years, so i have experienced more death, disease, loss etc than i have as a nursing student.

    my inital reaction is of course shock., bc the reason we do this at all is to "save" people & help them right, and when they expire we feel as if we have failed.

    so, shock, anger, maybe sadness. I have never cried, but i get angry bc i feel very strongly about my work, in the sense that maybe i couldve done better.

    i think maybe as a nurse, i will carry this same mentality. Sometimes i feel as if im too cold. but maybe its because my interaction with my patient is so short term that i dont get to develop a bond/attachment.

    did this make any sense? LOL
    lol yes it made perfect sense! And thanks for replying, and i dont see it as cold. I too think i am sometimes cold but then i reealize i cant let everything get to me or i wont be able to do my job correctly lol. But i do love my patients in the sense that as my EMT teacher told us to do "View them like family" and i guess that shapes my mindset alot.
  9. 0
    I agree with GrnTea. Time will take care of much of this dilemma. However, it might be helpful to keep a journal whenever an event occurs. Write down how you felt and what could have been done differently (by you or others). One day you will be able to look back at the journal and see that you are maturing and this will give you confidence in your decisions. Another thing, be proud of your work. You may be last person to show caring to a human being.


Top