How does death effect you? - page 2

Does it bother you when some one dies on your shift? I am new to this so ofcourse it does get to me a little bit. It doesnt get to me to the point where I cannot do my work, but it never fails,... Read More

  1. by   eltrip
    In my first nursing position (just under 4 years), I cared for at least 5 patients who died during their hospitalizations...a couple were DNR's...the rest were ill & had complications. There's not a time that I wasn't saddened by their deaths. There were 2-3 to whom I'd grown close over the course of their treatment.

    During my second nursing position, which was only 13 months, I cared for a larger number of patients who died. Most had been sent from the local nursing home & were DNRs. After caring for one or two, I noticed some sort of pattern in how their final days proceeded. It feels strange to have this knowledge...

    I believe that each death touches us, even if it's our first shift with the patient. I've prayed for them & sung after they passed, as I would for my own family. It just felt right.
  2. by   UVaRN2Be
    I work in Bone Marrow Transplant so we get to know our patients really well, also their families. It is tough when we have a patient die because we develop a long term relationship with them. There have been alot of people that have really touched my heart. There have been only a few that have died on my shift. The way I deal with death is to remember the laughs we have shared, the times I have helped them through their disease, and the hope that something I did made this easier for them to cope with. It is very hard to see someone I care about die. But it is such a blessing to have known these wonderful people that have been brought into my life. I enjoy going down memory lane and asking my coworkers "do you remember so-n-so?" Then we talk about that person and the funny things we remember about them. Sometimes a tear will slip because they are gone, but then a smile will come because of the joy we brought each other.
  3. by   mario_ragucci
    I've known a few other people I've met and cared for and then died ao far. Perhaps my best guesstament now would be an average of one death per two month, renal related. We really need to take our hats off to our metabolism for managing glucose the way it does, seriously.
    Science destroys death; Everyone knows we are arranged electrons, protons and neutrons; what's the big deal about death? It's life that is so cool, the way those atoms stay spinning and tumbling so beautifully. Love Life!
  4. by   mario_ragucci
    The hardest part for me now, (a new feeling I never had before) is sometimes seeing a familiar PT, and thinking they in all likely hood will die from the illness they suffer from now. To think about it is wrong, i believe, yetI can't help it sometimes, especially when it's a PT a really like alot, and have had the chance to get to know them. Wacky as it may seem, sometimes I just see the atoms alone, and sometimes I let the atoms form unique thoughts.
  5. by   Sleepyeyes
    I stopped long ago trying to control my sadness when someone passes on.

    I cry and I feel sad, and then I try to think about how that person may've been in life when healthier, or happier, and I'm glad to have known and cared for them at this time in their life.

    And finally, I remember that they're in a place where there is no more pain, no more tears, no more sadness--only peace and joy and light. I remind myself that our parting is brief; I will see them again, though I will miss them.

    I try to picture us all sitting at the Heavenly Banquet-- (and try to envision the seating arrangements for that party!) and think about all the people I'd love to see there again.....

    Maybe I think about it this way because of my own challenges to my mortality lately, I dunno. I would hate to think my passing on would cripple someone emotionally, yet I'd also hate to think it would scarcely cause a ripple in someone's workday.

    So shed a tear, sigh a sigh, and remember that life is for the living, and all too soon, we all leave it. ((((hugs to you for caring))))
  6. by   christianRN
    Mandi, I think you've got tons of great feedback, but I just wanted to add one thing. I always thought about that, "being strong for the family," too. BUt lately I've thought more that it's okay to show emotion (as long as you're somewhat controlled, can talk and do your job) to the family, because what better way to express your care and love for their family member. I would much rather know that the nurse caring for my loved one cared enough about him/her to shed a tear or two, rather then see a "strong" front. I'm sure it varies with each family and situation, but that's what I"ve kind of been thinking. Keep caring!
  7. by   Agnus
    It is not only OK it is human. The fact is families often express appreciation of the fact the Nurse cried. Now not this going all all boo hoo and it becomes all about you and your feeling. But to comfort a family member and allow that tear that wants to to slip out is very OK.

    IF I really have to ball, I postphone it to when I can arrange to leave the floor and do so in private.

    I have let others seem wipe tears and sniffle. But I foucus on the family. Unfortuantely I have seen some immature CNA's take center stage this is inappropriate. (I'm not picking on CNA's I was one at one time. It is just for some reason these were the ones who always seemed to think it was about them, and "their loss" ) I don't know maybe it was a conicidence that it was a CNA.
  8. by   Agnus
    It was a few months back I was at the bedside and called the code on the father of our medical director. I know I broke bones when I initiated CPR. Fortunately the Medical Director was in the building and responded before the code team and stopped the code.

    I know this doctor well and when one of our own looses a family member well that is just too much.

    Another nurse offered to cover for me an suggested I leave the floor. I did. I cried and then returned to work.

    I was going on vaction and had a dear man in his 40's a chronic condition so a frequent flyer. I was praying all day he did not die that day as it would just be too much to bear. Both his mom and me stood at the bedside with tears in our eyes. I admimtted to her that he was breaking my heart.
    I knew that he would not survive until I returned from my vacation but I just could not have bore it if he went while I was there.

    When ever anyone dies I feel a hole punched in life in general. Something precious has been lost. I always greave though I postphone it untill I am off duty. If death does not affect me at all then I know it is time to seek psyc help as something will be very wrong. Not everyone effects me to the same degree but they do effect me.
  9. by   florry
    I feel that its good to see that you nurses out there are human being - with both emotions and intelligens, and some social skills, if you understand. This subject is complex, for you have to stay collected, calm with empathy and do your job physically, psychologically and sos. and spiritual. with dignity.

    The space between between being too close and have too much distance is often difficult too deal with, not only at duty but even off duty, when you are at home after a shift with termial caring and dying.

    - I remember it was a period of my life (9 years) working with old, suffering patients, giving them my "knowledge" about how to care for dying persons. I was after a while very obsessed by death and dying, even in privat life. Now I can see that maybee I was too close to them - the patient(s) and their relatives. Even off duty some relatives called me and wanted to talk, cried.

    Now I can see that I was too cloose. I got a lot of positive feedback by the relatives. Other nurses (my collegaes) said; " Ida the relatives adore you!" Yes, they did. But when I decided to do something other, I now can see; that I was too cloose. Where does the border go? I dont no. But I have learned something. Something about space and to be professional. Hope you can see what Im trying to say.
  10. by   Pamelita
    Today I lost a lady, she was a DNR, really sweet with a really nice family. I cried so many times after work, its really hard to deal with somebody dying. Even though we were not their family, we known them and we took care of them. I've been an RN only for 1 year and I learned so much about how to deal with my emotions. Specially when you work with ventilator patients,long term with multisystem failure. I learned that death is when there is no more suffering, no more agony and the family are more in peace. This lady passed today with a smile on her face with her daughters at bedside holding her hand, with me there for support, it was a beautiful thing.
    WE as nurses are VERY STRONG people because we deal with death every day when we work.
    take Care
  11. by   duckie
    Everyone handles death differently. I honestly say that I feel both sadness and joy when I loose one of my precious residents. I love them all like family so the tears are for my sorrow of my loss and the joy for them, that they are now free of all pain and suffering. I cannot say anything that hasn't already been said to perfection, so I will just add, God bless you for caring!
  12. by   cbs3143
    I worked ER for many years and witnessed the deaths of many patients. Some affected me more than others. The vast majority were elderly with chronic respiratory or cardiac conditions. Those I really don't recall any specifics.

    The younger patients and pediatric patients were far worse for me. Memories of victims of house fires, electrocution, CO poisoning, drowndings, stabbings, GSWs, snowmobile collisions, and MVCs seem to have stayed with me through the years.

    We didn't have critical incident stress debriefing back in the old days. We just handled it the best we could. I recall crying for some of them. When a child was killed, I would pick up one of my own sleeping children after I got home and cleaned up. They never knew the theraputic effect that they had on the old man. I hope that they never have to learn. We could sometimes share our feelings with co-workers, especially with a particularly difficult death.

    Whatever helps you to cope with the loss of a patient, especially one that you've known and cared for over an extended period, should be practiced. Crying, talking with family members and co-workers, attending funerals, and personal prayers for the deceased are all appropriate coping mechanisms.

    Best of luck with your nursing career. Death is a part of life, and patient contact exposes you to more death than the average person. It is still a difficult aspect to the profession.

    Last edit by cbs3143 on Oct 19, '02
  13. by   2amigos
    I think if it's honest, then it's good to show some emotion when a patient dies. When my father died, it was comforting to see the nurses and others that had come to know him had tears in their eyes. He wasn't just someone in a bed to them. It really felt good to know that he had impacted them as well.
    I worked in a group home for a couple of years and we had residents die, most of them were DNR's. I have to admit while I felt a little sad, I missed them, I felt no need to cry. The relationship with the clients was very different.
    Now I am doing my prerequisites to become an RN and I hope that I will always handle situations with sensitivity and respect. I've seen that in the posts here. Ya'll are awesome!