Am I cut out for nursing

  1. Something is really bothering me and I don't know if I'm meant to be a nurse anymore. Last night my husband choked on a chicken bone. Instead of getting into help him mode like I do with my patients. I panicked hard core and didn't know what to do. I just grabbed my phone to call 911. He was coughing up blood and turning red in the face. I just have this image of him looking at me and needing help and I'm just standing there frozen. He was able to cough it up and I did nothing but panic. I feel so incredibly guilty about it and I'm seriously questioning my ability to become a nurse. I've worked in healthcare for almost two years and I've seen patients crash, pass away, etc. But when it comes to my husband I turn into this crybaby and choke up. Is this normal for other people in healthcare? Does this mean I shouldn't be a nurse?
    Last edit by larson1013 on Jan 2
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    About larson1013, CNA

    Joined: Dec '17; Posts: 9; Likes: 4

    15 Comments

  3. by   brownbook
    You are being way to hard on yourself.

    I don't know where you work, but assume you have fellow CNA's, RN's, maybe even cardiopulmonary and doctors close by. When you see a patient in distress you know you are not alone and help is close by.

    In your home you have none of that.

    Take a deep breath. Sure you panicked a little. Hopefully it never happens again. Review basic BLS choking victim procedures. If there is a next time I am betting you handle it fine. And honestly who knows..... perhaps calling 911 was the best reaction?

    If you have handled "crashes" on your job you will be a great nurse.
  4. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    Oh no! I'm glad he's okay.

    I don't have experience with this yet, but I imagine it's a LOT harder to keep your cool when it's someone you love in distress.

    Brownbrook gave some great advice, best of luck to you!
  5. by   larson1013
    Thank you so much! Definitely reviewing BLS after that. It was very scary but you're right. Hospital is different from your own home. At least IF there is ever a next time (super hope there will never be one) I will be prepared and hopefully calm.
  6. by   AnnieNP
    Don't be so hard on yourself. It is really different when it is a family member. Before I became a Nurse Practitioner I was an ER nurse. My daughter was a toddler and she fell in the bathroom and hit her chin, splitting it open. I picked her up and ran across the street to a neighbor who was an OB nurse. I had been in the ER for 5 years at that time and I absolutely did not know what to do!!!!!!! I did not even apply pressure!
  7. by   Workitinurfava
    It helps seeing it done and getting comfortable with it. The more you see and do, the more you get comfortable. You did the most important thing, you called 911. You still did something. You didn't go into panic mode and do nothing. Those darn chicken bones love to split and block airways.
  8. by   emmjayy
    There's a huge difference between caring for a patient in crisis in the hospital, with doctors, other nurses, RT, etc. to help, and dealing with an emergency that involves someone you love. I float as a tech in the hospital and go to the ED often as part of my job. I deal with all sorts of stuff down there and it doesn't faze me. When a family member of mine ended up in the ED though, I was very shaken and hollered for the nurse every time I saw them do so much as twitch in a way I didn't like. It made me question my ability to be a nurse, but then a kind commenter on this site reminded me of the difference between being a part of a random stranger's crisis and being involved in your own crisis.
  9. by   new gal
    Huge Huge difference when its someone you love! Im so glad hes ok, but I would not take that as a sign that your not cut out for nursing. You had the right mind set to know when to get help and believe me, even though it seems like common sense, plenty of people just stand and watch....even when its their loved one. Crazy I know. I am a student nurse as well, prior to, I was a paramedic, involved in my fair share of codes. I never batted an eye. I knew exactly what to do, ever so calm. But when my daughter started to choke on some grapes, I grabbed her and gave her the back blows. She was breathless and lips turning blue. I was 1 second away from calling 911 and then the grapes popped out. I thought I was going to die, the guilt because of what had happened and trying to keep my heart from exploding from anxiety and calming down from the greatest fear I had ever faced. I had never had that feeling working a code.
  10. by   hurricanekat
    The thing that stuck out the most to me is that you said he was coughing up blood and he coughed it up on his own - that means his airway wasn't completely blocked and you couldn't do anything anyway. Calling 911 was the right answer. It really sucks to stand there and do nothing but really - what other options did you have (think about this from a non-emotional textbook type position)? Feeling helpless has to be one of the worst feelings on the planet. You may turn into a crybaby - but you love this man - you can't help it. You may want to leave caring for him in a hospital setting to someone else - but when you are at home be his wife and love him madly and be a great nurse when its time to be a nurse at work. This is no reason to stop being a great nurse.
  11. by   turtlesRcool
    This is why we don't treat our own family members. It's pretty common for strong emotion to cloud judgment. When a loved one is the patient, it's hard to think clearly
  12. by   MinneNurse
    Quote from turtlesRcool
    This is why we don't treat our own family members. It's pretty common for strong emotion to cloud judgment. When a loved one is the patient, it's hard to think clearly
    Was about to reply with almost this exact response.
  13. by   Rionoir
    Maybe just avoid the ER
  14. by   Sparki77
    When I was about 5 yrs or so into my practice ~tele at the time & I was in many codes etc- my then husband almost cut off 2 fingers with a saw. He came in the house, hand up over his head, gushing blood. I took one look, got dizzy & had to sit down. HE applied his own compression with a dish towel & went with a friend for sutures. I still tell that story & I laugh about it now.

    Point is, at the end of the day, most of us are still human.

    You will be fine!

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