Maybe I need to get this off my chest once and for all...
I entered the healthcare field because I enjoy helping others. I quickly discovered that I become too attached and so I chose Emergency Medicine as my poision. "In and Out" -- "Rescue and Roll" -- It worked well for me and I felt like I was doing something I was meant to do...I spent most of my time on the ambulance, and worked per-diem in the ER and MED/SURG as a Tech. Inner city EMS was my primary but I soon found myself involved with PICU/NICU and CC Transport. The obvious next level of education and move was to become a nurse. This is what I dream of.
So everything is rolling smoothly and my Grandmother (may as well call her Mother -- and the woman who bought me my first Littmann stethoscope.) comes into radiology for a scan. I know the rads and I quickly discover she has pancreatic cancer.
Well no problem for me...no problem for any of us...no problem for someone who has an immune system that chases squirrels around the back yard and a stomach that could be used for bomb disposal...right!
I spent the next 2 years taking ambulance rides from hospital to hospital for surgery, talking to doctors, techs, and translating to the family. Before her death she thanked me and said "You'll make a good nurse". Soon after the funeral I began to cut shifts and became depressed. All my "brothers and sisters" were aware of the recent death. They were aware of the hours we worked and the environment and not once did anyone say -- Hey bud...I think you may need some help. I stopped working the hospitals and I handed my badge in on some cold March day after I tried to save an unrestrained child involved in a crash -- mom was high -- I couldn't do it...not one more minute. And that was the end...I left quietly and without a call or concern...most co-workers now viewed me as a slacker and a trouble maker.
For a few years now I have worked quietly in a field unrelated to healthcare and earn a living. For a short time I felt if someone were to drop in front of me I would step over them to avoid helping...not myself.
I found the road back...I am a Jr. now...about 1.5 years from earning my BSN. I still tear up when I think of past events. I feel uncomfortable around the sick and dying...but If you have no pulse and stopped breathing I'm the guy want in the room...just don't expect me to write.
With that said...we can walk into a room and form a general impression of a patient in a millisecond but never notice Patty RN laying breathless along side the patient's bed. The affects of Cummulative Stress and Traumatic Stress
ruin lives and claim our own. I learned the number one rule on the street is SAFETY -- Safety for myself and after me...Safety for my partner, my crew, my fellow nurses. I think "safety" is more then immediate environmental factors. Everyone is affected by death, disease, sickness...those who are afflicted and those who treat...be mindful. I think that checking your colleague should be part of the assessment. Leave no one behind...no one untreated. I will see you all again soon.