Coping with death/dying

  1. As a soon-to-be new grad working in the ICU, I have recently had to cope with dying patients, many of whom were young. It seems that the RNs on the unit communicate with each other and support each other, while others do not seem to display any emotion. As a student I do not have established relationships with the nurses on the unit and it is awkward to try to approach them about this. Generally, I turn to my fellow classmates for support as well as my family members - although it is not quite the same when they have never met the person or lived in the situation. How do you cope? Any suggestions?
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   DIDI
    The Nurses on your unit prob. know each other very well, some learn to hide feelings as a way of coping, the emotions are still there. You will hear this alot but its true, you never get used to losing patients but you learn to accept that we lose some. We do our best as Nurses while we have the chance to make a difference in our pts lives, and comfort. I'm glad you voice this feeling thats the first step in coping.good-luck in your new career//di
  4. by   Angel of Mercy1
    Originally posted by Toby1:
    As a soon-to-be new grad working in the ICU, I have recently had to cope with dying patients, many of whom were young. It seems that the RNs on the unit communicate with each other and support each other, while others do not seem to display any emotion. As a student I do not have established relationships with the nurses on the unit and it is awkward to try to approach them about this. Generally, I turn to my fellow classmates for support as well as my family members - although it is not quite the same when they have never met the person or lived in the situation. How do you cope? Any suggestions?
    Dear Tobi,

    I find talking with co-workers is very important. If I try to talk to a family member, they do not understand. The first cases in my nursing were very difficult for me. Often a nurse will search their own feelings about what is inside their heart when they go home after a patient dies.

  5. by   traumaRUs
    I work in a large level one trauma center and deal with dath frequently. It may be unpopular, but I believe in God and have a firm belief that there is someone else that people go to when they die. This helps me deal with the deaths. It is never easy when you have to deal with it and if it is, then you probably are in the wrong business. God Bless
  6. by   CANRN
    Toby, during nursing school, my father passed away after an eight month battle with cancer and also my father in law. I did my practicum with HOSPICE. One of the things I have learned is, you need to be at peace with the fact that, as my father put it. "none of us are going to get out of this world alive! " we need to be in touch with our own feelings concerning death and dying. It's not easy to handle until you get to that point. THe support from your co-workers and peers is important also. No one at home understands what we face everyday.
    Good Luck in your new career.

    [This message has been edited by bshort (edited April 24, 2000).]
  7. by   Sian
    I found it incredibly helpful to do a course on death and dying from the nurses perspective, that was put on by a hospice near me. There are a lot of styles of coping but there are some that are definitely worse than others, and can lead to escalating stress and anxiety. My advice to you is to formally equip yourself with the skills you need to deal with death and dying as a nurse; a lot of the nurses on the course I attended worked in ICU and were really pleased to have done the course. If you just try and cope with it on your own or without any preparation or support, you are asking for overwhelming stress.

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Coping with death/dying