Have you ever cried with a patient?

  1. I know that nurses are supposed to be professional at all times. But dealing with a sick patient and a family that you have become personally fond of has got to take a serious toll on your spirit. Have you ever cried with a patient and or their family?
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    Joined: Jan '02; Posts: 78; Likes: 10
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  3. by   petiteflower
    Sometimes. Yes we are professionals, but we are also humans. For many of us, truly caring for people is what brought us to this profession. But watch, make sure your emotional attachment does not conflict with your professional judgement.
  4. by   mother/babyRN
    Yes, I have cried with patients...I do not think it diminishes your professionalism in any way to grieve or react in a human way during some instances...As was mentioned, we are human too, and each experience enriches us, teaches us, and makes us better nurses. It takes a strong, confident nurse to allow him or herself permission to empathize with a patient....If it comes from the heart, it helps the patient deal with whatever is going on...Just as we eventually discover that when there are no right words to say, a touch or a look, (or perhaps some tears), communicate, with silence full of meaning, that you are there to assist the patient in a significant way...The patient will never forget your part in their life experience. Well worth the tough times...
  5. by   petiteflower
    very well put mother/baby rn
  6. by   sharann
    Have laughed with a pt as well as cried. Sometimes with the same pt. It not only shows them that we are human, it reminds US of this.
  7. by   micro
    laughed, shed a tear, allowed patient to be angry and shared their anger, hugged a patient and their family, told a bad off-color joke.....just to get them out of a funk, told a clean but cute joke just to get them out of a funk.........(sometimes this takes knowing your patient and their families well and wouldn't mix and match randomly)
    point tryin to make in agreement with the author of this thread.....
    it is okay to be human with our patients and their families.......but keep our professional demeanor......but you can be you and still be professional...........patients do not want robots for nurses............if we never shed a tear.........if i never shed a tear i would apply at Wendy's to flip burgers........cause I will always care for those I come into contact with in my nursing day.........
    but on the same hand.....I will always assess my patient and families.....and then just throw in a barb or two to let everybody crack a laugh or at least a smile.....it lets steam out of a overstressed situation.........laughter/even vaguely smiling between tears is great medicine.........
    every situation is individual.......I just feel fortunate when the noc/shift is such that I am able to be aware and utilize the situation even if but no more than an extra minute......
    cause all nocs/shifts are not like this, huh folks...........
    where i draw the line for myself is this.....I do not go to visitations or funerals of those i have cared for........not that I never will(actually in my ten years did go to one).........just feel that somewhere for myself.....i have to draw the line of detachment........because I care so deeply.......that the job of nursing would consume me.........if i allowed it to.........
    thx for letting me ramble all, didn't know i was going to write this much.....but don't think i will edit it........
  8. by   uncRN
    when you can't cry ,you need to get out of nursing...
  9. by   fergus51
    Who has been in nursing for any significant amount of time and NOT cried?
  10. by   challis
    I've been working as an Enrolled Nurse (similar to a LPN in the USA) for the past 6 years. And yes, I have felt so much for some of my patients that I too have swelled up with tears - even put a hand on their shoulder - its amazing what a simple gesture like that can do for someone when words may not be enough.

    My point is that I'm currently at University completeing my Bachelor Of Nursing Degree. During this program nursing students are basically taught to be non caring robots. We are told by lecturers that its not appropriate or "professional" to cry with a patient or even give them any hint that you are a human being. I find this unbelievable. I feel that the lecturers are so far removed from the "real world" of nursing. I wonder when the last time was when they were working in a real hospital ward with real patients.

    The patients I work with are cared for on a long term basis (some many years) & I have found that during that time you build up a good rapport, becoming very involved in their lives & the lives of their significant others. A large part of my job, besides nursing, is counselling patients. I also love a good joke & find humour with my patients a good way to break down barriers & humanise nursing.

    Despite what I am taught at university, I will continue to nurse the way I have for the past 6 years.

  11. by   hoolahan
    I just cried w my pt this weekend. She is 100 years old, and was just out of the hospital. She told me she never wants to go back to the hospital again. I had been thinking of speaking to her about hospice anyway, if nothing else as a way to keep a nurse in there looking after her. I said I want to talk to you about something serious today, and I explained why I wanted to transfer her to hospice. She cried, and said I was her angel for allowing her to be able to die at home like her grandmother and mother did in the old country. She hugged me, kissed me, and told me she wants to give me an expensive ring, and I have to promise her not to tell her family (of course if she ever did do this, I would give it back!) Seeing how moved she was, and tears in her eyes, just made me melt too. She also made me promise that since I wouldn't come back after she is transferred to hospice, I would visit her "as my friend." Of course I would, and besides she lives down the street from me too! She is truly precious.
  12. by   traumaRUs
    I feel sorry for UncRN - either you haven't been a nurse too long or you've been a nurse too long!!!

    As an ER nurse and trauma nurse, I really see people under stressful conditions. Two years ago, I took care of a peds full arrest, a beautiful six week old girl. After we prounounced her, I got a rocking chair out for the mother, wrapped her daughter in a warm blanket and quietly left the room.

    The next night, I got a call from this mom who thanked me profusely for the rocking chair and the time spent alone with her daughter. The police were involved, as it was an inner-city single mom and I had also shooed them out of the room. Her simple call really touched me so very much, that I had to excuse myself to dry my eyes.

    After all was said and done, the coroner ruled it SIDS. Had there been any trauma or suspicion of foul play, I wouldn't and don't do things this way. (And believe me, we see lots of foul play and child abuse.)