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Emotional support?

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MissRis13 MissRis13 (New) New

I am a very new nurse, but I am not new to health care. Although I have seen my fair share of "tough" situations as an EMT, somehow my emotional response has been different as a nurse. Spending 12 hours with patients has led me to become more emotionally involved than I expected.

The unit I work on has a lot of difficult cases, emotionally speaking. with particularly charged patients and circumstances, I am having trouble not carrying the emotional weight of my patients with me. Unfortunately, I am very new, and am hesitant to ask about available resources. (What of my coworkers think I'm too soft? Or I can't handle it?).

What kinds of resources are available for nurses in tough emotional cases? What do you advise for a new nurse in this situation? Is it normal to feel this way?

MrChicagoRN, RN

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care. Has 30 years experience.

It can be normal at times. Maybe not even unusual with new grads.

your employer probably participates in an EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM - EAP

Its free and confidential, and will allow you to connect with someone to discus these issues.

poppycat, ADN, BSN

Specializes in pediatrics; PICU; NICU. Has 42 years experience.

I would NOT go to EAP. The one & only time I ever used EAP, everything I talked about went straight back to my manager.

Try to find some individual counseling outside of work.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

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

In the last few years, a new phenomenon called "Cumulative Traumatic Stress Disorder" has emerged in nursing research. It is a very real problem - resulting from the continuous onslaught of emotional/physical trauma that nurses have to deal with. It is not specifically associated with any specific clinical area, but the amount of trauma that the nurse has to deal with and the effectiveness of his/her coping skills. So, a nurse with ineffective coping skills working in a fairly low-stress area may be affected just as much as one with highly effective coping skills working in a high-stress area.

Smart, nurse-friendly organizations have implemented mechanisms to help staff such as Critical Incident Stress Debriefing sessions after traumatic events. Take advantage of any support that is offered by your organization, including your EAP. They can refer you to appropriate assistance. Please take action to help yourself - (((((((hugs))))))))).

MrChicagoRN, RN

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care. Has 30 years experience.

I would NOT go to EAP. The one & only time I ever used EAP, everything I talked about went straight back to my manager.

Try to find some individual counseling outside of work.

That's unusual. EVERY place I've ever worked, I never even know if someone uses the service or not. All the EAP providers I've come across promise confidentiality, and would get their pants sued off if they violated that trust.

Were you sent on a mandatory referral by your manager? I had one employee that I sent as a condition of continued employment, and even then, all I was told is if he went to counseling or not. I received absolutely no other information.

poppycat, ADN, BSN

Specializes in pediatrics; PICU; NICU. Has 42 years experience.

That's unusual. EVERY place I've ever worked, I never even know if someone uses the service or not. All the EAP providers I've come across promise confidentiality, and would get their pants sued off if they violated that trust.

Were you sent on a mandatory referral by your manager? I had one employee that I sent as a condition of continued employment, and even then, all I was told is if he went to counseling or not. I received absolutely no other information.

Nope. I went on my own & was promised confidentiality only to have my manager bring up to me things I had told the EAP person. Not long after that I was terminated.