(((((((Cindy)))))))) I am so sorry for what happened. This is one reason I could not go into L&D. I don't think I would be able to handle that. But there is a reason you are there, maybe you know, maybe only God knows. A nurse with your kind of heart is obviously where she is supposed to be.
A few years after graduation from nursing school, one of my classmates (who had waited to meet her career goal before having a baby), arrested during a C-section, and died later. I had lost touch with her after school, but was deeply saddened nonetheless when I heard the news.
I have learned though, that Psych nursing doesn't go without heartbreak either. There are far more incidents than I care to recall. The most recent happened just this past week. A gentleman who fit the 'high risk' category for suicide (wm>65with chronic pain/medical problems, including TIAs), had just been hospitalized last week for an apparent OD attempt, which he and his family denied was intent to suicide. I had some phone contact with the ER doc at the time he was admitted to ICU on Thursday. I was out of the office on Fri. and Mon. so that by the time he was medically cleared and ready for discharge, one of my coworkers (who is not a nurse but a fantastic social worker), ended up doing the follow up for possible further disposition. While reading the paper here on Tuesday, I learned that this same man had been found dead on Monday afternoon, drowned in a pond behind his house. Sadly, his grandson found him. To unnerve me even more, it happened that this man lived only ONE BLOCK from me. They found his shoes and coat on the bank of the pond. The family is still apparently in denial that he was suicidal and who knows - with the hx of TIAs, maybe it wasn't suicide. But when I put the whole picture together, including what I was told by the ER doc about his hx, including tx with antidepressants, and possible previous attempt, in my heart I believe it was. I sat here feeling like someone had knocked the breath out of me when I read the story. What might have been different if I had been the one to see this man and his family on Monday, instead of my coworker? (Although, I read her documentation and it was clear she did a fantastic job in her assessment). Also, I thought, this man might have been one of the older people that I so frequently see walking around my neighborhood. What if I had just casually spoken to or started a conversation with him on an evening walk? Would I have picked up on something?
Bottom line is - as nurses we have an unspoken desire to 'save the world' I believe. But we can't. And we can't beat ourselves up when there are sad endings. If we do, we may entertain thoughts such as "why did I ever get into this?". Overall, we are here for perhaps a much more subtle reason. We may not understand it, but I believe God knows why He chose to send each of us to our specialty area. He knows what we are made of, and what we are capable of. If He brings us to it, He will bring us throught it. Just my 2 cents.