[font="century gothic"]i will be changing specialties in a couple of weeks from obstetrics to hospice (i know....huge difference!). i've done ob for 9 years, but i feel the need for a change of pace and would like to learn new things. my question is this: how do all of you hospice nurses out there protect yourself from concentrating so much on death during your "off time"? that is the only thing i am uncertain about with taking this new position. i am afraid that i will feel so "depressed" at the end of the day. what suggestions do you all have to curtail this type of situation? thanks in advance for all of your ideas!
Oct 8, '07
when working in hospice, i think it's imperative to closely evaluate one's feelings on dying and death.
what are your beliefs?
what are your (mis)conceptions?
what have you observed w/the dying? (there are commonalities)
it's certainly the time to explore, reflect and emanate.
i can tell you, if you do not find coping mechanisms in dealing with death on a daily basis, you will indeed burn out.
for me it works, as i am a highly spiritual person...
and i can implement my philosophies into my work.
so, what works for me, will not necessarily work for you.
many yrs later, i still struggle with those deaths that weren't so neat and tidy.
thankfully, my employer recognizes the need for flexible schedules, mini-vacations and mental health days.
there are other hospice nurses, who are so overworked, there is little time to get caught up in the personal stressors.
a supportive work environment is a must.
working in hospice is not just a profession.
it affects your entire outlook on life, and death.
best of everything to you.
Oct 8, '07
Well said, leslie! Mental health days are VERY important for hospice nurses and kuddos to the employers who understands this. Good luck to you QT in your new career path.
Oct 8, '07
I cope by reminding myself that I am helping these people find a good death...which is so hard in today's technological world. I agree that mental health days and mini-vacations are a must, and I've outright told my employer that I will be taking days off here and there, but I will try to let them know as far in advance as possible. I worried I'd always be brooding about patients, etc. in my time off. Sometimes I do, and it makes me anxious. But most times I am able to set boundaries for myself.
Personally, all the death I've seen makes me appreciate life so much more. There is so much to learn from the dying, especially about living. Will I burn out? I might. But I'm doing my darndest to keep up boundaries and be OFF during my free time (if that makes any sense). It's not for everyone, but I find it very rewarding. I work only with adults, and would not ever be able to work with dying kids. I don't have enough faith for that!
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