Dealing with losing a patient

by MateaC MateaC (New) New

How do you deal with losing a patient as a nurse? I'm a student nurse and lost a patient recently and unexpectedly and keep having bad dreams about it. I feel that we did everything possible to help the patient but it's still difficult to handle. How can I deal with this as I become a new Registered Nurse?

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience. 5,047 Posts

Hugs!! Does your school have any sort of counseling service for students, or if you have a job do they have an EAP? Or see if you can debrief with a trusted instructor? It never gets easy, and some deaths will be harder than others. But if you're having nightmares about it, I think it's a good idea to talk to someone.

RN403, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,068 Posts

As a student I had a difficult time with losing my first two patients. I talked with my nursing instructor about it and that helped a lot. Your nursing instructors have probably seen their fair share of death in their careers and can walk you through how to deal with it.

I agree with a PP, speak with your school counseling services/health care center if you feel that you need further help with this issue.

Always remember, you do the best job you can to help people, but, you cannot save everyone.

calivianya, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. 2,418 Posts

I just remember that everybody dies. Some die earlier than others, some die more horribly than others... but none of us are immortal. It just happened to be that person's time. If you hadn't been there that day, he/she would have died with someone else taking care of him instead. If you did everything right, that person's death has absolutely nothing to do with you, and taking it personally as if that death did have something to do with you is just putting an unnecessary burden on your shoulders.