Emotional Involvement

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    Hello, everyone!

    Let me preface by saying that I am a newly accepted nursing student (starting spring 2014!) and I've been volunteering at a hospital for nearly two years. Through this internship, I have moved along 8 different floors varying from basic nursing (Med-Surge, Telemetry) to surgical floors (Labor and Delivery) and have seen different procedures and care plans. I'm glad I did this program, because I fully understand the stress level nurses undergo and the massive amounts of work you all do! But at the same time, it's making me question if I can handle the emotional toll of the job--and if I should choose a different career.

    I decided to become a nurse because I have great compassion and empathy. To be able to help someone in their darkest moment fulfills me. But, at the same time, I have had moments where I just break down and cry. I cry because I feel so terrible for the patient and just sometimes wish I could help them more than I actually can--if only I could take their pain away for a few minutes! A couple of things that trigger these feelings: I don't like to watch unsuccessful IV insertions and blood draws (but that's probably due to mild needle phobia anyway--I HOPE I get over that!) and if a patient feels depressed or lonely... Pretty much if the patient is in physical or emotional pain, I feel just awful.

    I have a huge heart, but I think it's working to my disadvantage. Nursing is my calling; but I know I need to get over these fears/emotions. That all being said, I am only 20, so maybe I just need to grow up a little bit. Any advice or tips?
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  3. 3 Comments so far...

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    I am the same way. I even cry at movies like Up, lol. I feel too much feeling for people and cry b/c I can't stand to see someone in pain, especially emotional. I cry with the thought of child abuse, and can't get it out of my head when I unfortunately hear a story, for even weeks. I will tell you that it has gotten much better, especially since being in my last semester in nursing school. I do feel that I am improving and that I am taking less and less home with me. I do know that I could never work in peds or such b/c I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. I really feel like it improves with time and exposure.
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    It will get easier, but you will still have days where you go home and cry. I had a really awful code one day about three months into my career, and I went home, called, my mother, and balled. And I'm not usually that emotional. The thing you have to remind yourself about is that, as their nurse, you did everything that you could to help them. Just being able to say you gave it your all, and that you did everything in your power to help them, will have to be enough some days. I work for a great hospital, and when I leave in the mornings, I feel content knowing that my patients got the best care possible, and that's all anyone can ask of me.
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    Its great that you have that compassion. Don't lose it but realize it will get easier. Make sure there is someone that you can talk to that understands what a stressful field this is. Emotional support is key! Its very normal to have such intense sadness for some patients but if you don't d a healthy way to release it, you will begin dread your job. Again, just knowing that others feel the same way way may make all the difference! Good luck


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