How do you stay impartial?

  1. So I dont know if its the fact that Im just extra emotional this month or that I worked with this pt for three 12s in a row, but I feel like my pt this week really got to me. I wanted to do a 4th shift this week but emotionally I couldnt do it. Such a sad situation with my pt this week and I felt so involved with the family, it was hard. You know I (we) see death and dying every day and its always hard but everyonce and awhile there is that pt who just gets to you.

    Its hard for sometimes to not get that involved but its hard not too and its emotionally draining at times. How do you handle this?

    Tks.
  2. Visit GrnHonu99 profile page

    About GrnHonu99

    Joined: Apr '05; Posts: 1,562; Likes: 112
    Nurse
    Specialty: Neuro, Critical Care

    11 Comments

  3. by   clee1
    Step back.

    Take a different pt on your next shift. When you can no longer be objective about a pt, it is time to switch off with another nurse.
  4. by   jmgrn65
    We are human beings, and we can't just hit the off button. There will always be that one patient that you just can't help it. It is ok, yes emotionally (sp) it can be hard. But as long as you can still give good care and your judgement is not clouded then you will just have to ride it out.
    You can do what the op said take a different pt. assignment.
  5. by   GrnHonu99
    Quote from clee1
    Step back.

    Take a different pt on your next shift. When you can no longer be objective about a pt, it is time to switch off with another nurse.
    I chose not to work a 4th. Maybe I should have rephrased. I dont knwo that I was at the point of not being objective, it was just such a sad situation, more emotionally draining. I couldnt do a 4th with her, too hard...
  6. by   clee1
    Quote from ELKMNin06
    I chose not to work a 4th. Maybe I should have rephrased. I dont knwo that I was at the point of not being objective, it was just such a sad situation, more emotionally draining. I couldnt do a 4th with her, too hard...
    I understand, seriously I do. Been there recently.

    You have to take care of yourself first, before you can care for others - you know this is true. Work the shift if you want, but see to it that another nurse takes this pt.

    Best wishes to you.
  7. by   anonymurse
    You are very smart to break it off. We're all on an emotional budget, and it's a self-aware person who knows they can't afford a certain demand and still stay functional. Sounds like we all have matching t-shirts here
  8. by   jojotoo
    I think that it can do both the caregiver and the patient good to have an emotional connection with each other. Of course, you can't open yourself emotionally to every patient - that would be too draining. But there are times in all of our careers that someone just seems special to us. For me, these are the times that I am most aware of my humble connection with the rest of humanity - and the difference that I can make in someone else's life.
  9. by   bigsyis
    After 2 years on the floor, I knew I could not continue to be a floor nurse. That was back before DRGs, and you could easily have a pt for 2 wks at a time. Not only would you get to know them and their families intimately, you'd get to know their visitors at well. I often was tormented by their deteriorating condition (cardiac) and cried all the way home. I decided I couldnl't continue, but that I loved nursing. When I became an RN, I transferred to ER, and was never sorry. There you do the best you can, while you can, and then pass them off to the floor nurse for the long haul. It was the best decision I ever made, regarding my career. Maybe you can do similar, or go to a Ambulatory care, Telephone Triage, or office work?
  10. by   scrubsnhugsRN
    I had a cancer pt who was in the hospital for a long time. The spouse was in complete denial regarding the diagnosis, literally within minutes of explaining the disease process she would say things like, I don't understand why he is in so much pain...why cant he swallow? (He had naso-pharengeal ca with bone met.)

    Towards the end she was insisting on him getting an EGD to see why he couldnt swallow, at that point he was very confused r/t the huge amounts of Morphine and Fetynl that he was on.

    After her insistance on the EGD, the next day I requested not to take him as an assignment. I literally could not do it, since I had become so involved with his family, so involved with patient teaching and was truly getting nowhere. It was evident that he was very close to passing...I felt very guilty about this since I had followed his care for so long, but I had to detach myself.

    He passed that morning.

    I suppose in the end you are only human, and I am still learning.
  11. by   UM Review RN
    I take a day off and make myself go to places and do enjoyable things that will get my mind out of the rut.

    This is to remind myself that I too have a life to live, for myself and my family. My family and I have discussed and taken action about the problems inherent in not "being there" for them once I get home because of work stress.

    It's a difficult problem to deal with, but it helps me to emotionally detach when I've been taking it all too personally.
  12. by   G to The P
    Take up a yoga class or some other form of relaxation.
  13. by   teeituptom
    Quote from ELKMNin06
    I chose not to work a 4th. Maybe I should have rephrased. I dont knwo that I was at the point of not being objective, it was just such a sad situation, more emotionally draining. I couldnt do a 4th with her, too hard...
    when the going gets too rough, Its time to go GOLFING or whatever is good for you

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