how to deal with death???


Okay, i've been in school for 4.5 months, clinicals have started and i'm loving it so far. However, there was one thing that made me almost not go was my first day on the 3rd floor and my pt. was an awesome, not needy or complaining. In the room in front on my pt.'s room was a 4 year old little boy, when i went to get my pt's vitals @ 7 a.m., the little boys door was open and he was setting up in the bed talking with his mom. Everything was good for about an hour then all of a sudden they called a code blue to his room. It just went down from there, more of his family showed up and were all outside his room, they got him back but he coded again a short time later and they had called MEDFLIGHT to take him to a bigger facility, when the copter came for him, he coded again as they were prepping him to go and they never revived him again. The hardest part was walking past that family to get to my pt. and not knowing what to do. I offered chairs, tissues, drinks but that was all i could do. I felt awful!

His mom wanted an autopsy to see offical cause of death since it was so sudden and i was there when the ME showed up and watched them wheel the little boy into the elevator. All the nurses on the floor had a hard time as well as me and my fellow classmates, when we got to post conference we all broke down. I know death is part of life and i've seen a couple of the older pt's pass, but this hit me hard and i still cannot get past it. That little boy was up and talking, then all of a sudden he was gone. How do you process this?? Our instructor appologized for us being subject to this so soon into clinicals, there was nothing she could do though. Has anyone else had to get past something like this? Everyday when i'm in clinicals and i see a child in the hospital i feel like i'm gonna have a heart attack. Is this to much for me?:cry: :(

I don't think the death of a child ever becomes easy.

You simply have to go back.

There is nothing wrong with having feelings of sympathy and compassion for the death of this little boy and the loss that his family feels.

Offering tissues, drinks, chairs, all those gestures that you felt were insignificant at the time, showed the family that you cared. And that is a very important aspect of who you are.:redpinkhe

Some deaths are easier to experience then others. Some memories will stay close with you for a very long time and they help to create the nurse you will become.

You can do this, every day you go back to the hospital you prove to yourself that you can.


446 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Medsurg.

I'm sorry you had to go through this and i'm sure it is difficult. I, too, had to deal with a death that hit me very hard. Our second day of OB rotation, we delivered a Fetal Demise. It was a horrible thing and I'm not sure I will ever erase it from my memory. I was not in the actual birth but 2 of my classmates were and I took care of Mom that afternoon. The strange part for me was although I am not a religious person, I felt a strong need to place my hands on the little girls "make shift coffin" and say a prayer. That did offer me some closure somehow although I am still trying to figure out why.

One thing I am glad though, I went through this first experience while I am still a student and have plenty of wise, intelligent seasoned nurses around me. Thoughts will be with you, I know its hard not to bring this kind of thing home.

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