Do I need a new specialty?

by BD-RN BD-RN, BSN, RN Member

Specializes in BMT. Has 11 years experience.

I moved to NYC 4 months ago, and started working on BMT, a big change from med/surg. I'm now so worried I'm not in the right specialty for me, and I'm feeling a little lost. I don't want to go back to med/surg, where I felt rushed and couldn't be there when my patients needed me as much.

What I LOVE about BMT: the patients. They come to us and stay on our unit for about a month, usually even a little longer, so we REALLY get to know them. On my down time I usually just go spend time in their rooms. A lot of them tell me I bring the sunshine in, and I really enjoy them. (I work with adults). I get attached to them because, well I just do. I genuinely care about these people, and I know that's what makes me good at this.

I'm having a hard time, though, because I get attached. Our hospital is known for being a little "less selective" than other hospitals when it comes to transplanting patients. Needless to say, many come back with complications, and sometimes it's not even because they shouldn't have been transplanted, it just doesn't work for whatever reason (GVHD, etc, I know you fellow BMT RN's know the drill). It breaks my heart every time, and I come home crying at least once a week. And I don't just mean a little tear. i'm fearing it's negatively effecting me. I read another thread on this issue. I LOVE caring for these patients, but I don't want it to have such an impact on my life that I become depressed. I've talked to my clinical educator about it, and she told me to stick it out for a couple more months.

I'm having trouble articulating how this is making me feel outside of work. Anyway, I guess I'm wondering, how do you cope? If I didn't care so much, I wouldn't be good at this, but I care TOO much, it seems. Maybe this just isn't the specialty for me?



Specializes in Med/Surg/Tele/Onc. 437 Posts

We had a Hospice MD come to our clinic once and discuss the idea of Professional Grief. It was really interesting. We as caregivers have an unusual role. We are not friends or family to these patients, but we can get to know them at a very personal level. Yet as professionals, we sometimes have to uphold a standard or not cross a line. Professional grief is a real thing that we all need to deal with.

I found this link:

But there are others out there too. Google Professional Grief and you might find some good information.

I hope this helps and good luck!