Have you ever cried when a Pt died - page 2

by Topaz7 9,051 Views | 43 Comments

Sorry if there is a thread somewhere on here already about this. I remember the first time one of my patients died on me. I was taking care of her and she got very sick, I was working in Assisted Living at the time so the rules... Read More


  1. 1
    Yes, but when I feel the emotion of the families. And it's okay.
    GrnTea likes this.
  2. 8
    yes, of course. even in critical care sometimes we'd have patients for long, long stays, and with primary nursing (thank god) you can get attached. when you see the first bad lab report, the first little bit of blood coming out of a tube where there shouldn't be any, the first couple of stitches dehisce, and you know where this is going because you've seen it before, you keep a calm face on for the patient's sake, but then you go in the locker room or your car on the way home and you cry and cry and cry.

    you go in the next day, and they're incrementally worse, but still there; a few more days or a week, and the end is in clear sight, and still you don't cry where anyone can hear or see you, including your spouse and kids.

    then the day arrives when you come in and all the pressors are up and running, the vent pressures are way too high, the gases are awful on 100%, there's no urine in the bag, the family has been told that it looks bad, and all you want to do is turn everything off, bathe the person you laughed with just a week ago for one last time, and cry. but you don't do any of that. you crank up the pressors, you push the furosemide, you cover the mottled legs as they turn color higher and higher. you suction, you fill and empty, you wipe, you open, you close.

    and then, just as fast as that, the code is over and everyone leaves the room. they ask the family to wait until you are ready. you clear away all the lines and the tubes, get the bloody chux off the floor and the linens in the basket, and get all of it with the vent and the pumps out of the room and out of sight down the hall in the utility room. then you bathe your patient one more time, do your best to erase the effects of days of failure and suffering, lay on fresh linens, and go get the family.

    then you all cry.
  3. 1
    Yes. Children who died never having a family to come and visit them, or outright rejected them because of their physical condtion.

    Close, long-married couples when one of them dies unexpectedly. I remember one darling couple who lost the wife during open reduction of an elbow fracture. This happened in November. In December a family member dropped by her gift to the nurses with the handwritten card she'd filled out ahead of time. That was a family practice clinic so we were like family to some of them. Husband looked so lost. He died a few months later.
    Esme12 likes this.
  4. 2
    I've been nursing for 25 years in all kinds of settings and my motto is still " when you quit crying when you lose a patient, you need to find a new job". I have always found that my patients' families were some how comforted in seeing that the nurse who cared for their relative or friend cared enough about them to care about their passing. So go ahead and cry, it lets off the anxiety and makes you a better nurse.
    Topaz7 and Esme12 like this.
  5. 1
    Not ever at the hospital but in the car coming home.
    GinaDecorRN likes this.
  6. 0
    Yes, when I was a student and it was the first time I had gone through anything like that. I didn't know the patient for longer than the one shift to which I was assigned--and she died during. But the family brought out the emotion in me, so there it was.

    After that, I have had many patients who died during my time with them, and no, I did not cry. I felt sorrow many times, but actual tears...no. I just learned how to keep my emotions in check, because I figured if I let myself get torn up every time a patient I cared about died, well....I'd spend alot of time in tears. I was not without feeling for them, but I had other patients (always) when I had someone who had passed, and as charge nurse many more than that who I knew would likely need me on top of my game instead of weeping at the desk.

    So while the short answer is 'yes', the more realistic answer is 'yes, once, but not again'.
  7. 0
    no, but hasn't happened that often. I was more preoccupied with doing my job, not being emotionally wrecked.
  8. 1
    Quote from wellsjc
    I've been nursing for 25 years in all kinds of settings and my motto is still " when you quit crying when you lose a patient, you need to find a new job". I have always found that my patients' families were some how comforted in seeing that the nurse who cared for their relative or friend cared enough about them to care about their passing. So go ahead and cry, it lets off the anxiety and makes you a better nurse.
    I have shed a few tears over the years. I agree that the family somehow feels comforted that the one who cared for their loved one genuinely cared for them personally. I save for my soul cleansing cry for the car.....but those slow escaping water drops that creep down your cheeks, as you mouth the words.........I'm so sorry, I think let the family know how deeply personal you take your job.

    I also agree if you ever stop feeling it's time to leave.
    Silverlight2010 likes this.
  9. 0
    yes, i am working in an assisted living facility right now and you do bond with them. its normal to cry.
  10. 0
    We had a patient die recently that we all loved. We went to his funeral. I don't cry for all of my lost patients, but I have made a special bond with some. The last patient was the sadest yet.. It is worse when it doesn't seem fair or if you feel like you could have done something.


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