attending wakes/funerals

  1. I am an oncology nurse who attends wakes of patients I have been close to. I find great closure in this, but some of my co-workers are resistant to the practice. I am wondering how other nurses feel about this issue.
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    You know, this was something I had never thought of. In my nursing career, I've not had to deal with death at the moment it occurs. (I've worked drug rehab and OB) I always read the obits, and occasionally see the name of a former resident at the rehab, or a little angel that didn't make it out of the NICU, but that's about as close as I come.

    Hubby and I recently attended his grandfather's funeral. There were alot of people there we didn't recognize, and upon asking, we found out that most of them had been his nurses through out his lengthy illness and hospitalizations. I was so touched by this. I would imagine it would provide you with a sense of closure, and I'm sure it would touch the hearts of the loved ones.

    I would say that there are going to be nurses that are resistant to this, some nurses just like to leave work at work. To each their own I guess. I just hope you don't let someone talk you out of doing something that brings you peace

    Heather
  4. by   researchrabbit
    If it feels right, then it is right!

    Personally, I've had enough funerals in my life already and do not plan to attend my own!
  5. by   shygirl
    I always go to my favorite resident's funerals.
    Where I cry like a baby!
  6. by   jemb
    Unfortunately, most funerals/wakes are during the hours I work, but, when I can I want to attend. We always send a card from our unit, with each of us writing our personal messages to the family. We see some of the patients and their families off and on over several years, so frequently there is a personal connection that develops. (We recently lost a very dear patient that was first diagnosed almost 20 years ago, long before any of us currently working in our unit were there. She was special to all of us.) It's not unusual for us to cry together at the nurses' station.
  7. by   UVaRN2Be
    There is usually at least one person from our unit that attends funerals. We have a bereavement group that sends out cards at time of death, six months , and a year. We call to check on families. It is very hard for me to attend funerals. My heart can not take it. I can be there during the end but sometimes I need to leave the room to regroup myself.

    Sometimes we will pull out our patient book and talk about our pt's that have died. We laugh and talk about what we miss about them. I try to see what we all bring to our pt's lives and how we help them through their disease as oppossed to the death of it.
    I feel blessed to have known these wonderful people and I tell them so.
  8. by   Gardengal
    I have visited the funeral home for many patients over the years. It is typically those patients and families with whom I have established a rapport and feel close to, and live locally.
    Since I work in a large teaching hospital which is a regional referral hospital, many of our patients are from >1 hour from here and it is difficult to get there on a work day. We do sen cards to these families too.
  9. by   hoolahan
    I have gone, esp after my HH pt's or hospice pt's have passed on. The pt's family always appreciates it.
  10. by   MomNRN
    I was so touched when several OB nurses showed up at my infant son's funeral. Two other nurses sent flowers. He was born severely brain damaged and lived only 7 weeks. It was comforting to know they cared. It also seemed to validate his short life.
  11. by   Lausana
    Originally posted by UVaRN2Be
    There is usually at least one person from our unit that attends funerals. We have a bereavement group that sends out cards at time of death, six months , and a year. We call to check on families.
    What a special group! Very thoughtful
  12. by   Wren
    I attended a fair number of funerals when I was a Hospice RN....especially if the patient had been on service for awhile and if I was the primary RN. Most families seemed to deeply appreciate it. My daughter is an L&D RN and she said she has attended only patient funeral and that was for the death of a mother that was particularly difficult for the staff (and the family).

    If you are up for it, I think it is helpful.
  13. by   obeyacts2
    I attend funerals for patients that I have cared for for an extended lenght of time. Most families are happy to see me.

    Laura
  14. by   ozzie sue
    I am a palliative care nurse but also relieve oncol. at times. I also find attending funerals of pts that i have known an extended time and developed a strong rapport, as a way of closure and puts my career in some sort of prospective. Families also feel special with my presence as we all become an extended family really. sue

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