There were a bunch of things I was afraid of before starting nursing school. I was afraid of giving injections. I was afraid of starting IV's. Etc, etc. And somewhere in that list was "I'm afraid of my patient dying."
I've been around death before, personally and professionally. My family was the kind that brought kids to funerals, and I had an inordinate amount of funerals occur in my early twenties. I also saw a code run for a patient (who they declared deceased) when I volunteered in ER before nursing school, and I remember the nurses telling me "oh just wait until it's YOUR patient...". Well now I'm in second semester, my third clinical rotation of my program, and it happened.
To be transparent: the patient didn't die due to my care or the RN's care, and he didn't die in front of me. I noticed a change in status that led to his transfer to ICU, where he died. I found out he had died when I was gathering information for my care plan and saw the doctor's note.
I keep thinking I am okay with what happened, but every time I sit at my desk to work on the care plan I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. I cried writing the "how did your shift go?" portion of the care plan, but otherwise I have just been dreading writing him up. When I look at his labs I can see he was obviously very sick and it makes me even more sad to acknowledge. Picking out NANDA's....I've already written 6 because he had so many problems. What I'm trying to say is that I know it was his time to go, but this logic is not helping with how my heart feels. Everyone I've talked to, including my instructor, says this is a normal reaction and a good reaction because it shows I care, but I am surprised at how strongly I reacted and how it still feels (clinical was last week).
Has anyone else gone through this? How did you deal with it?