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Coping with death and bad outcomes

PICU   (304 Views | 4 Replies)

Taylor1432 has <1 years experience .

1,666 Profile Views; 41 Posts

PICU has been my dream job for a very long time. I’ve only been here for about 6 months (actually a year but was on maternity leave for a bit). There have been so many sad stories in my PICU lately and I I feel like I’m always thinking about the kids. I’m often sad and even anxious about all the scary things that could happen to my own kids. Maybe my hormones are just off still from pregnancy and breastfeeding? Maybe I need to learn how to cope? I’m just having a tough time. The lack of sleep with night shift and a new baby probably isn’t helping. I’m almost considering looking into other specialties which breaks my heart because this has been my dream for so long. Any advice would be appreciated. I want to be strong enough because I love this job but I’m not sure if I am. 

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CritterLover is a BSN, RN and specializes in ER, ICU, Infusion, peds, informatics.

908 Posts; 11,647 Profile Views

Many of the kids we care for *are* very sad. I don't have kids so I can't comment on that aspect of it, but for the long term chronic kids that we care for, I just try to make sure that my efforts contribute to their quality of life. They might not have what many would consider to be a "normal" live, but I do what I can to make it the best life they can have. I try to remind myself that this is what they know. I deal mostly with kids under 3 (majority are infants), and they just don't have the awareness to realize they are different.

For the kids that are dying, I try to make sure they are comfortable and feel loved, cuddled, and secure.

Even for the occasional older kids who *do* realize they are different, I play into what they find fun, what they want to do.

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Taylor1432 has <1 years experience.

41 Posts; 1,666 Profile Views

5 hours ago, CritterLover said:

Many of the kids we care for *are* very sad. I don't have kids so I can't comment on that aspect of it, but for the long term chronic kids that we care for, I just try to make sure that my efforts contribute to their quality of life. They might not have what many would consider to be a "normal" live, but I do what I can to make it the best life they can have. I try to remind myself that this is what they know. I deal mostly with kids under 3 (majority are infants), and they just don't have the awareness to realize they are different.

For the kids that are dying, I try to make sure they are comfortable and feel loved, cuddled, and secure.

Even for the occasional older kids who *do* realize they are different, I play into what they find fun, what they want to do.

Thank you for responding. My unit has seen quite a few kids pass lately who weren’t chronically sick. Drownings, SIDS, flu, etc. I’m finding these particularly hard to wrap my mind around. 

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JRT1 is a MSN, RN and specializes in Leadership.

17 Posts; 106 Profile Views

This is tough.  I moved away from Inpatient pediatrics but not for this reason.  I didn't have kids when I was working PICU and Peds Onc.  It was hard then even without my own kids.  Now that I have my own kids I don't know that I could do it every day.  Its hard not to picture your own kids laying in the bed.  Some people can separate it easier than others but it is definitely something you need to find balance with.  If it is wearing you down too much then its time to look for something else.  Thats the beauty of nursing...there is something for everyone.

 

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PeakRN specializes in Adult and pediatric emergency and critical care.

535 Posts; 5,677 Profile Views

I'm fortunate to have the perspective of having worked with adults and peds in EDs and the units.

Life is unpredictable, it isn't fair, and not everyone gets dealt a good hand.

I've had plenty of kids with poor outcomes from heart disease, the flu, and just about every other thing possible.

It exists in adults too. It exists in the EDs, adult ICUs, NICUs, floors, and so on.

I think that in order to survive critical care you have to come to terms that a lot of patients are going to have poor outcomes, and be able to not take it home. We are able to recover many more patients, and give lifetimes back to so many of our kids and their families.

Over the years I've worked with a lot of nurses who don't ever really handle the stress well, and ended up leaving the units or EDs. It isn't natural to see death and suffering like we do everyday, and they found that another care environment ended up being much better for them. If you do choose to leave the PICU don't think of it as a failure or weakness.

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