Suicide Is Not Your Answer

by TheCommuter 8,708 Views | 36 Comments Senior Moderator

Nurses and other healthcare professionals have higher-than-average rates of suicide due to elevated stress levels combined with the high-stakes pressure of our lines of work. However, suicide is not the answer to one's problems.

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    Suicide Is Not Your Answer

    ďSuicide does not end the chances of life getting worse; Suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better.Ē -- Unknown
    Many people in the nursing community remember either hearing or reading about Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who killed herself in 2012 after being tricked into releasing personal health information by two Australian disc jockeys posing as members of the Royal Family over the phone. Then thereís Kimberly Hiatt, the Seattle area registered nurse who took her own life in 2011, mere months after making a medication error that resulted in the overdose and eventual death of a frail eight-month old infant.

    Kimberly Hiatt was a good nurse by all accounts. She had 24 years of experience in the neonatal intensive care unit, and prior to the fatal medication error that occurred in September 2010, her record was free of any negative incidents. After attempting to place myself in her shoes, I can sense the profound despondency she experienced throughout the last months of her life. For starters, she must have felt deeply horrified that the medication error led to a babyís demise. Secondly, the hospital where she had given 24 years of dedicated service terminated her longtime employment and referred her license number to the state board of nursing after the infantís heartbreaking death. Finally, the BON in the state where she practiced was conducting an investigation into the matter, so she ran the real risk of having formal action taken against her nursing license.

    She was tormented over the loss of a young patientís life. She was heartbroken over losing a job she loved. She was agonizing over the potential end of a career that defined her adult life. At age 50, Kimberly Hiatt was watching herself disappear from the world and wanted the pain to end.

    Suicide is defined as the deliberate taking of oneís own life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States in 2009, responsible for bringing about nearly 37,000 new fatalities during that year alone. In fact, suicides have been outnumbering homicides as a top cause of death in recent years.

    Nurses are at risk for suicide due to the high-stakes, high-pressure, stressful nature of our work. The suicide rate for nurses is 0.11 deaths per 1000, which soars above the 0.07 suicide rate for the general population. So what steers a nurse toward taking his / her own life? In many instances itís because the nurse feels enduring despair after making a mistake that led to a patientís demise. Also, depression is a strong risk factor.

    Other healthcare professionals have high suicide rates, too. For instance, physicians are nearly two times more likely to take their own lives than people in other careers. More health-related occupations whose members commit suicide at higher-than-average rates include pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians and chiropractors.

    If you ever feel despondent, please do not take your life. You might feel depressed, but depression lies to you. You might be fearful of the future, but fear lies to you. We live in a society where a person can do a million good deeds during his / her lifetime, but those Monday morning armchair quarterbacks rip into your soul for the one major action you took that went terribly wrong. Do not listen to your negative thoughts when making the next move regarding your life, and most importantly, do not listen to negative people who do not care about you. Review the objective facts of your situation and promptly get help if youíre considering suicide.

    Call 1(800)-SUICIDE and talk to a caring person on the other end of the line. Visit a 24-hour crisis center or hospital to obtain help. Seek out people who care, such as family members or supportive friends. Always remember that light is at end of that dark tunnel. Always be mindful that when youíve reached rock bottom, the only way to go is up. Whatever you do, we urge you to not kill yourself because your life has intrinsic value.


    RESOURCES
    http://www.businessinsider.com/most-...s-2011-10?op=1
    http://www.cdc.gov/violencepreventio...ng_causes.html
    http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 7, '13
    lehcareaj, SouthernBelle14, cryingsky, and 26 others like this.
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  3. About TheCommuter

    TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied experiences upon which to draw for articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.

    TheCommuter joined Feb '05 - from 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'. Age: 33 TheCommuter has '8' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehab, long term care, and psych'. Posts: 27,692 Likes: 39,976; Learn more about TheCommuter by visiting their allnursesPage Website


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    36 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    So well said. Thank you, Commuter.
    There might have been personal issues, not job-related, that contributed. But we can't really know that part, if any. Very sad all around.
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    Suicide is a personal choice. I attempted it once.

    I won't ever persuade someone in either direction, but place emphasis on the finality of death because once you kill yourself you can't go back.
    poppycat, sapphire18, NS Bubbly26, and 7 others like this.
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    Well said. Death is not only the end of your chances to be happy, but it also ends any chances you would have had to change the world for the better.

    I once had issues with depression, anxiety, and self-mutilation. I can say to anyone reading that once I took steps to seek help and get myself healthy again, my life began to right itself. I am now very happy, I absolutely adore my job, and I have the most loving, amazing husband without whom I don't know where I'd be.

    Alot of employeers have Employee Assistance Programs that offer free counseling. I have found them to be very helpful.

    If you ever start feeling the need to harm youself or end your life, call someone you trust. They will get you help. Please, please know you're not ever alone.
    Lossea and Blackcat99 like this.
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    A person never knows what is going on behind another's door. I can understand what is a motivator for some to consider suicide. In many places there is not the services that one needs. After being in nursing a long time in many settings and after participating on this forum I understand that a person's job and other nurses can be unsupportive.
  8. 3
    I am trying to find a new job for this very reason. I am tired of being depressed and wishing I were dead. I would never commit suicide because it is against my religion. But I sure hope I can find something less stressful soon.
    debsgreys, Hygiene Queen, and Carrie RN like this.
  9. 5
    Quote from Blackcat99
    I am trying to find a new job for this very reason. I am tired of being depressed and wishing I were dead. I would never commit suicide because it is against my religion. But I sure hope I can find something less stressful soon.
    Are you still working in LTC, Blackcat99? If working in the LTC industry is a contributor to your depressed feelings, then I urge you to get out ASAP. You seemed happier doing home health and private duty cases anyway.
    poppycat, sapphire18, VickyRN, and 2 others like this.
  10. 2
    Quote from TheCommuter

    She was
    tormented over the loss of a young patientís life. She was heartbroken over losing a job she loved. She was agonizing over the potential end of a career that defined her adult life. At age 50, Kimberly Hiatt was watching herself disappear from the world and wanted the pain to end.

    @ The Commuter, I love your posts, I really do. But it does irk me a bit when you write posts from a third person view with such certainty. Did either of these ladies leave a suicide note?

    No one will ever know why they did what they did. All the occurrences that happened leading to their untimely deaths were all circumstantial. We can all assume as you have done, that these must have factored in, but we cannot say with CERTAINTY (as you have done), that they did.

    Again, I love your posts but saying tings with certainty as a third party, when you had no way of knowing what really occurred can be considered a tad bit misleading.
    applewhitern and SnowShoeRN like this.
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    I wish I didn't understand the kind of desperation that drives one to consider taking their own life, but I do. Believe me, when you're that far down, you are NOT thinking about your family and friends.....all you want is for the pain to stop. The thing that always held me back from the edge was my faith and knowing that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. That and medication saved my life. Bravo to The Commuter for tackling this very tough subject!
    debsgreys, Hygiene Queen, poppycat, and 5 others like this.
  12. 4
    Quote from The_Optimist
    @ The Commuter, I love your posts, I really do. But it does irk me a bit when you write posts from a third person view with such certainty. Did either of these ladies leave a suicide note?
    Kimberly Hiatt's longtime partner, who has granted interviews several times, stated why she took her own life.
    Kimberly Hiatt was said to be totally destroyed and devastated after she accidentally overdosed baby Kaia Zautner on September 14, 2010, with ten times too much medication at Seattle Children's Hospital. Her error led to the unravelling of her life which caused not only the death of the eight-month-old child but her dismissal, firing and then her suicide on April 3 at aged 50.

    ...Kim's partner and co-parent of their two children Lyn Hiatt, 49, told MSNBC: 'She was devastated, just devastated.'
    Lesbian nurse takes her own life after medical blunder
    poppycat, SoldierNurse22, prnqday, and 1 other like this.


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