Coping Mechanisms- How do you cope?

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    Hey guys,

    A lot of the discussion on this topic is through the female lens. Men bring a refreshing new perspective about nursing practice & the associated interventions on the unit so if we could extend that to this topic I think it would help. It goes without saying that men do cope differently then women. I'm not saying men don't cry, but certainly we do so with much less occurrence and also I have never seen a guy cry because a patient was yelling at them.

    Further, this could be a very beneficial thread to the nursing students of the world who may not have another male preceptor/instructor to discuss this with.

    I remember there was this time I had a 3 yr old patient in the Paeds trauma/resusc bay with a bit of developmental delay ( I forget the diagnosis), who wasn't a trauma or resusc but certainly was experiencing respiratory distress- RR 60, don't remember the ABGs, Accesory muscle use, wheezy, 02 84% initially on RA. Basically this kid just got worse and worse over the course of about 4 hours. eventually put on non rebreather with continuous ventolin, not good. We were awaiting and ICU consult (intubation?) the poor little guy codes. He was medivac'd to the nearest children's hospital tubed and vented. It was my first code on a kid still remember that little fella and it hit me. Now I didn't cry or anything but I think the spring in my step was gone that particular shift.

    All in all for my coping mechanism sometimes I hit the gym hard (whether that be weights, cardio or swimming it doesn't really matter) after rough shifts kinda burn out all the frustration. I work through the situation in my head (whether it be a particular patient causing the duress or that I just ran my ass off all day no break) and just reanalyze to ensure that I did everything that I could, and if I did all that I could I'm satisfied if not, I learn from it and move on.

    Other times I'll crack a cold one watch the game/tv/movie/sit on the deck and review the day again and learn from it, if appropriate. and i don't have alot just 1 or 2- I don't need a benzo drip or a form, know what I'm saying?

    What do you do and does it work?

    Oh and if you had some maladaptive coping that you resolved and wanna share (sound like a Psych RN much?) that would be sick and educational (especially for the students).

    KCCO.
    Altra, Esme12, and bsartor like this.
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  3. 19 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    I cry. Like the time I hit my thumb with a hammer, or put the same thumb into the tablesaw blade. OK, I have cried on the way home from work. It is good to grieve a tragic case, and I talk it over with my GF (also a nurse). My biggest coping mechanism is to not work too hard. Family time, outdoor time, working out, are all ways I can put myself back together. These things also make you more resistant emotionally on the front end. I am well known for cheerfully saying "no" every time I'm called to come in extra. I have other part time jobs so I don't really need the OT. Just say "no"!
    VivaLasViejas and Esme12 like this.
  5. 0
    Great thread....my only question....why was a 3y/o left in distress that long......3y/o Sat 84% RR60....they needed 100% and intervention/intubation LONG before 4 hours. Poor baby.

    You don't have to answer because it's off topic. Being female .....LOL.....I just had to ask.

    I indulge in adult beverages as well....a GOOD cold beer. A nice BIG glass of wine and a bubble bath.....go out with co-workers and "debrief" at the local bar/pub.

    GO home and hug my babies.....who are teenagers now but still allow me to hug them as long as it isn't in the public eye....(wink)
    Last edit by Esme12 on May 27, '13
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    I think family and friends are the best coping mechanism that anyone can rely on. While I admire how women can sometimes let it all out, as men, it is more difficult because we bottle it up. Exercise is a great way to help and definitely indulging in a few beverages as long as it doesn't turn into a crutch.
  7. 0
    Nothing wrong with a good cry every now and again! Having a good rant with nursing student besties works wonders because well you know that they are going through the same stuff. Sometimes if you have a good preceptor they can understand and talk you through some stuff, telling them that you never experienced this before...because face it at eighteen you don't have much life experience. For example I didn't know what ''DNR a.k.a NFR'' meant. Never heard of it before I started nursing, not the kind of thing you learn in school! My preceptor sat me down and explained it, then it made sense! Also when things are just like mildly upsetting or annoying rather than cry-worthy, I play guitar and sing away! When things are a lil bit tougher, journaling helps. If things get really upsetting, I call my mom :P
  8. 0
    I spend time with my dog, hubby, or coworkers.. They all get stuck listening to me rant and/or cry. Also a good adult beverage or a good workout can do wonders. The most important thing is to figure out what gives you some peace. I think we all have patients that haunt us, but you just work through it.
  9. 0
    Being a female it's assumed we all cry: I don't, I'm single live alone and find unless its incredibly personal I detach myself emotionally from a situation like a code and get on with what I have to. Unfortunately for me that is running my ass off!! I work in a metro cbd ED, we get the usual; drunks, psych patients, broken limbs, mvc's etc fortunately no peds patients. I tend to use the staff gym and nut out 3-4kms on a rowing machine or put 150kg on a leg press and do reps of 5 with 2min intervals!! Then go home have a Jameson and hit the hay ready for the next shift
  10. 0
    Not a nurse yet, but currently a nursing student with no life (which I'm sure you guys might know of xD) + I do deal with some patient care or patients in general working as a lift tech that provides stress.

    Took me awhile to find my destressors, but as of late I've been doing some cardio and basic push-ups, sit-ups, and dumbbells every other day. Nothing hardcore, just to keep my mind free of all things and try to get my body healthy cuz I've been eating horrible. I also go out with both nursing friends and regular friends for a long night out once every 2 weeks or so. And, of course there's always video games for us guys

    Oh, and there's always my Pom. He's also so happy to see me everyday
  11. 0
    I cry seldomly, but once in a while. Maybe Q6months.
    Usually I can sleep things off.

    I suppose I don't have an official coping mechanism yet.
    I'm still a nursing student but work as a PCT in a local hospital.
  12. 1
    I have the same coping mechanism I had in the ARMY.

    1. Emotional Detachment. Switch those feelings off.

    2. Acceptance. Understand the fact that sometime people will die no matter how much drugs you push/ or how many times you shock.

    3. Understand. The reality of life is that it is terminal, one day we are all just dust in the wind.

    4. Women. A good time always helps.
    spinetilt likes this.


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