I believe that a lot of nurses have a difficult time with seeing patients pass. Likewise, if you find yourself having a very difficult time dealing with the situation, you may just have to consider the area of the hospital in which you work in. Some units have higher mortality rates just because of the nature of the area.
I work as a nurses aide in an intensive care unit and I am also a junior in nursing school
. From my experience, I have never participated in a code blue or a sudden decline in a patient as a nursing student. If a client was found to be on a "downward slope", they are generally sent to the ICU.
However, as working as an aide in the ICU at my local hospital, I have seen a lot of death. I have had many occasions where patients are terminally extubated, choose to decline further treatment, or die suddenly during a code blue. At my hospital, the aides are usually responsible for chest compressions during a full code, so I have to be right in the fray. As it is happening, no one has time to think about their own feelings. You simply have to act as quickly and efficiently as you can to help this person.
Afterwards, you may have to take home the feelings are you recall the situation. Everyone has to deal with those emotions in their own way. I recall that dealing with my first code was difficult only afterwards. During the code, I was focused. However, from my experience, death becomes easier over time. It sounds cruel, but I have become a little more decensitized to the passing of a patient in relation to my first experience.
All in all, a nurse has to be prepaired for an emergency. For the immediate situation, a nurse has to be able to set his/her emotions aiside and do their job to help the patient. Likewise, I have talked to many other aides/nurses from other units that say they would be afraid to work in the ICU because of emergency situations. It makes them uncomfortable and that is okay.