Less Grief! Advice on hospital based nursing specialties please

  1. Hi Everyone,


    I am a year away from graduating as a registered nurse (in Australia). I'm hopeful for your wisdom as to which areas of nursing might involve lower levels of grief, particularly with families. I do enjoy the hospital environment over community and primary care. However, perhaps the "acuteness" of hospital environments is the problem.


    I work in a large animal hospital (theatres, ICU, recovery, ER and a range of specialties with MRIs, CTs, telemetry, etc - pretty much as advanced as a human hospital).

    I'm finding myself in tears a lot. Carrying little bodies while I'm racing them to into ER, whilst they die in my arms is really upsetting. Seeing animals in severe states of suffering because their owners mostly are genuinely ignorant to the signs of illness is heartbreaking. And the families - looking into their grief stricken eyes, comforting them through their loss, talking through cremation/burial options, is starting to make me cry with them. I think this is what truly gets me. I've been doing this for over a year now. I'm starting to doubt that I will cope in a human hospital and am worried I'm too sensitive before I even embark on my career.


    What areas do you suggest I try to get into? I've only been in theatre once, orthopaedics. Recovery seemed like more my cup of tea than theatre though. Although it might have been the style of surgery that didn't appeal (apart from the scrub nurse, everyone else was just sitting around waiting for it to be over, on their phones. I think I'd be bored to tears. Is it always like this?).
    Elective post op care seemed less distressing, but a bit less autonomy than what might interest me long term. What else would you recommend?

    Keen for your thoughts. TIA.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Wolf at the Door
    Well part of the reason I did not become a Vet. In hindsight I wish I had tried. If you are really passionate about animals stay that route. Look at your job as a reason to go to work instead of a reason to hate it because of what humans have done or not done. Consider yourself their savior. Animals bounce back better than people.
  4. by   jade013
    Thanks Wolf!

    Sorry, perhaps my wording was misleading. I don't dislike people for what they have done or not done for their animals. I was trying to express their genuine ignorance - as just something they don't understand. There is certainly no judgement.

    I want to work with people, not animals. I'm just trying to avoid specialties that involve such great quantities of grieving families and death. Or perhaps if death is frequent, that it is is an area of nursing where one is able to feel a little more removed from it.
  5. by   ILoveGI
    Have you done your Endoscopy rotation yet? It was by far the most BORING rotation I did in nursing school. It is, by far, the most FULFILLING nursing job I've ever had. I have done inpatient float pool, cardiac, interventional radiology, day surgery, ambulatory surgery, and PACU.

    I love the workflow, the occassional high acuity, the interventional procedures and the one to one patient care. We do everything from screening colonoscopies to hemorrhage control, bronchoscopies, foreign body removals, diagnostics, and lots more.

    It's a rewarding specialty and I feel like I make a difference everyday!
  6. by   jade013
    Hi ILoveGI,


    Thank you for your response! And for describing what your day entails. I honestly appreciate it.


    I haven't been on an endoscopy rotation yet. A friend has, and said it was truly boring - but all she could do was sit and watch, as is appropriate for a student. That would be a long month of "watching" and not "doing" anything.


    Workflow, occasional high acuity and one to one sound very much like something that would keep me very interested. And less traumatised.


    Making a difference everyday is what attracted to me to nursing in the first place. It's just find the right way of making a difference, before I burn out, that might be the key.


    Can I ask what you thought of PACU as well?


    Many thanks x

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