I don't think this is adequately addressed in nursing school
-- the fact that nurses can be the "collateral damage" in patient tragedies. You can be the toughest nurse on the floor, but there's going to be something that gets to you -- kids, someone that reminds you of a family member or friend. I've put more people in body bags than I ever thought I would, and while sometimes (most actually) I can realize that death is the end stage of life, and was a blessing to someone dying by inches, there are going to be patients that crawl inside your skin and live in your head for a while. I've had patients ask me what they've done to deserve cancer...COPD...CVAs. And I tell them death is like gravity. A leaf falls from a tree, not because of sin or evil, but because of gravity -- gravity just "is." Death just "is" -- it exists, and eventually, we all fall into it.
Realize that you are going to cry with your patients, laugh with them, rejoice when you see someone you thought was a goner tottering around the Walmart under their own steam. You're going to be made privy to family secrets -- like the adult children of a dementia patient I had that refused surgical consent because the man abused them in every manner possible, and none of the 4 children could bring themselves to "save" their tormentor (we got a court appointed guardian). You're going to be present at miracles and tragedies, but the most important thing to keep in your mind is this is not your miracle; this is not your tragedy. Observe it, but don't own it.
Never stop caring. But only the patients should be the ones bleeding.