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Being overly sensitive/overly emotional when dealing with patients

Nurses   (5,510 Views 18 Comments)
by kynchanted kynchanted (New Member) New Member

kynchanted works as a Military.

4,766 Visitors; 168 Posts

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locolorenzo22 works as a ortho neuro detox nurse, new tele nurse.

1 Article; 11,764 Visitors; 2,396 Posts

depends on the situation. You have to show enough emotion to care, but not enough that they think they have to comfort YOU. Hospice cases are tough personally, I find myself doing what I can, being strong in front of families, and running to the bathroom to let it out after being in there for a while.

You can't open yourself to everyone, but you'll find the line, it develops with time. good luck!

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happy2learn works as a Employed at a Level 1 Trauma Center.

7,722 Visitors; 1,118 Posts

I work with families at a hospital in some very emotional situations. When I see someone cry, I find myself holding back tears. Doesn't matter how long I have known them. I don't like to see people in emotional turmoil.

There are moments when tears are appropriate. You will learn which ones. There have been a few families that have really touched me and when their loved ones passed. I shed some tears, and I was looking right at them (they came up to thank me as they were leaving the hospital when their loved one passed :crying2:) The families were very sweet and they knew, even before I shed those tears, that I cared about them.

I try not to cry while the patient is still fighting for their life. The reason is because I want to be strong for the families. If I feel my eyes watering, I turn so they cannot see (of course, there are some extreme cases where I break that rule.)

I believe showing emotions, to an extent, shows them that you are human, just as they are. Many people would love to see that their caregiver cares enough for their loved one that they brought a tear to their eye.

Don't let people pick on you for being emotional and caring. That's what makes you beautiful. I see traumas, death, and tears all the time. I don't cry every day though. And when I do cry, it doesn't burn me out or anything. It is a relief to let it out, versus holding it in. Now, I don't sit and sob, my eyes will water and I will (attempt to) catch a few tears before they run down my face.

As long as you can still do your job well, then I do not see it as unprofessional. Now, you can't be crying every few minutes at every little thing ;), but a few tears is not unprofessional. You will learn with time when it is appropriate and not. You will be able to read the vibe off the families. And you will learn to be strong when needed. But don't EVER change who you are because someone said it's unprofessional to show emotion.

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2,109 Visitors; 86 Posts

I think you will probably get used to what you will be seeing everyday! Since I work with the same people everyday (ALF) I am extremely emotional, lol Ive become really close with all the residents and actually feel like i have 32 different grandparents lol so when one of them gets sent to hosp or something happens, I go in the office and cry. maybe im just weird. PROBABLY. lol.

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kynchanted works as a Military.

4,766 Visitors; 168 Posts

I work with families at a hospital in some very emotional situations. When I see someone cry, I find myself holding back tears. Doesn't matter how long I have known them. I don't like to see people in emotional turmoil.

There are moments when tears are appropriate. You will learn which ones. There have been a few families that have really touched me and when their loved ones passed. I shed some tears, and I was looking right at them (they came up to thank me as they were leaving the hospital when their loved one passed :crying2:) The families were very sweet and they knew, even before I shed those tears, that I cared about them.

I try not to cry while the patient is still fighting for their life. The reason is because I want to be strong for the families. If I feel my eyes watering, I turn so they cannot see (of course, there are some extreme cases where I break that rule.)

I believe showing emotions, to an extent, shows them that you are human, just as they are. Many people would love to see that their caregiver cares enough for their loved one that they brought a tear to their eye.

Don't let people pick on you for being emotional and caring. That's what makes you beautiful. I see traumas, death, and tears all the time. I don't cry every day though. And when I do cry, it doesn't burn me out or anything. It is a relief to let it out, versus holding it in. Now, I don't sit and sob, my eyes will water and I will (attempt to) catch a few tears before they run down my face.

As long as you can still do your job well, then I do not see it as unprofessional. Now, you can't be crying every few minutes at every little thing ;), but a few tears is not unprofessional. You will learn with time when it is appropriate and not. You will be able to read the vibe off the families. And you will learn to be strong when needed. But don't EVER change who you are because someone said it's unprofessional to show emotion.

Hi! Thank you so much for this; that is what I was hoping to hear. I don't really want to become desensitized to people; I personally would be really touched if a healthcare provider treated me like they really cared and felt what I was feeling. I don't want to lose my emotional side, and I wanted to make sure that I could hold onto it and still be a good nurse. Thank you.

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kynchanted works as a Military.

4,766 Visitors; 168 Posts

Thank you for all of the advice and words of encouragement. I know that nursing will be a challenge for me because of my emotional side, but I will work on it (but I don't want to lose it completely), and it is nice to know that I don't have to. I appreciate all of the advice that everyone here has offered (and I have read all posts). Thank you for taking the time to share both the "tough love" as well as the "warm and fuzzy" advice. I appreciate it all and will remember it all.

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i think shadowing is a great idea. there's no way to REALLY know how you'll act or react until you're actually doing the job. i wasn't sure i would be able to handle it well when i knew a patient just found out they were dying, etc, etc. but the reality is you DO get used to it. "getting used to it" doesn't mean you stop caring - you learn how to control your feelings. no, it's not appropriate to walk into a patient's room crying because they were just diagnosed with cancer. on the other hand, there's nothing wrong with crying with a patient who is pouring his/her heart out to you about how scared they are of dying. just recently a lady started crying and telling me how worried she was and she had nobody to talk to because her husband died and she had to be strong for her kids, etc. it was really heart wrenching - i didn't start crying uncontrollably, but if anyone could've been in my shoes and not welled up with tears i would check to see if they had a pulse. so don't think you have to hide all of your feelings all the time. there's a good balance and i'm sure you'll find it.

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