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Caregiver second guessing career

Has 11 years experience. Specializes in None at the moment.


I'm currently a pre nursing student. I've been passionate about becoming a nurse since before the third grade. Fast forward forever later, 5 years in the Navy (4 as a Hospital Corpsman), ED Tech, PCT (in MICU), and RMA - it's safe to say I have some healthcare experience. But, I'm also a caregiver for my husband whom suffers severe migraines and in some cases ocular migraines. When he's in pain and I can't make it better, I'm stressed and upset AND praying for the pain to subside. I give him his medication as 'scribed by our doctor, help with water, hold the can for him to heave into... You get the point.

I don't know if it's just worse on me when he's in crisis because I'm his wife? Because, I'd feel the same way about anyone in my family or even you. I feel anxiety because I don't have control of the situation because he'll be in a fetal position, and crying for 45 minutes to an hour before the medication, generic Zomig, kicks in. I don't know if I'd be a good nurse because I feel pretty stressed out when I can't help. When I feel unsure and unable to help, I begin to panic.

This is not good for me when nurses have to be calm in the madness or else someone gets hurt or something goes wrong.

I do not know what to do, but I'm thinking that I can't be a nurse.

I'm a new nurse, but I've worked in EMS for over a decade as a paramedic. I truly think the stress magnifies when it's someone you love or care about. I've been able to remain calm on many 'bad calls' in my ems days but had to call for help when I had to respond to my unresponsive mother. Stress, panic, and every other emotion was involved. Never once have I experienced that feeling on an adult patient. Pediatric pts, absolutely. So don't throw in the towel just yet. What u are feeling is completely normal. No normal person wants to see someone they love suffering. If you did, then I can understand you questioning whether nursing is for you. I hope your husband gets better and stay strong and hang in there. Nursing needs caring people like you


Specializes in LTC.

Multiple, multiple, multiple nurses here have all said it that caring for one of your own can be far worse than they ever expected.

They all carry the double burden of being nurse AND family and expected to 'make it all better'. And it hurts YOU when you can't fix it alll.

It's a common feeling.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Has 35 years experience. Specializes in Critical Care, Education.

Agree with PPs.

While empathy is essential for nurses, we also must be able to establish emotional boundaries and compartmentalize those emotions so that we have the objectivity needed to effectively manage patient care. This will develop over time as we become more accustomed to the patient care environment and become more confident in our practices. Of course, there will probably always be some situations or patients that will always get to you - in my case, it's pediatric trauma victims... I've always had a lot of difficulty keeping "shields up" with the wee ones. I've never come across a nurse that doesn't have at least one chink in their armor... we're human.

Dealing with our own loved ones is different. We can't (nor should we) erect those emotional boundaries when we're involved in their care. This is the reason that most organizations have rules that forbid clinicians from caring for family members.

Don't let this stop you if you really want to become a nurse.


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