Dealing with the sad parts

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    I am new to oncology and have been having trouble dealing with the sad part of nursing. I have never seen people so sick in my and it seems like everyone is just dying. I think about these pts on my days off and have cried almost every morning after I get home because it makes me so sad. I hate it because I have always wanted to work in oncology and for the most part I am still really interested in it (I'm a nursing student doing an externship) but I know I need to learn how to cope with these feelings of sadness for these people if I ever want to be an oncology nurse. I also do not want to become completely numb to everything either. So...how do you deal?
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    Hmmm this is a tough one. I work in peds onc. It seems as though we go through periods of many children dying and it's really rough. I try to focus on the kids that are doing well on my days off. When the really sick ones do die I firmly believe that their suffering has ended. I'm more sad for their families. As time goes on, many nurses become less sad.
    Don't be afraid to cry with the families if your patient passes but it's also not healthy to take your work home with you either (sometimes out of your control)
    I wish you the best, sometimes only time will help the sadness pass
    Sdstuart likes this.
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    Oncology is a specialty with many deaths. I am also a peds onc nurse and I agree with brithoover. Usually when these patients pass, there is relief that their suffering has finally ended.
    SoldierNurse22 likes this.
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    I started in oncology about a year and a half ago (six months as an aide, thirteen as a nurse), and the overwhelming feeling of sadness gets better. I think one just learns to cope with time. Having supportive co-workers that know when to let you cry, when to help, and all in between is a plus.

    Like Kel said, usually when patients die, they've been suffering with pain and discomfort for so long or are just worn out from the struggle. It's a relief that that struggle has ended. Take pride in the fact that you could help ease some of that suffering with your care or provide a listening ear when needed. My unit has unfortunately lost a lot of "regulars" over the course of the last couple of months, and it's hard. But you do get better at coping. Lean on your coworkers because they know what you're going through. Make sure you have hobbies/interests/friends outside of work so that you can try to leave work at work when you're home. It's easier said than done, but is probably healthier emotionally.
    Sugar Magnolia likes this.


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