I saw my first patient that died today... - page 4

This was a patient that I had for clinical 2 weeks ago and today when I went in they said that a patient had died this morning and asked if any of the students would like to perform or observe... Read More

  1. by   Diamond Nurse
    I am sorry that you felt sad over the loss of your patient. You will become more able to accept death as a part of nursing , as time goes on. I still feel sad but... not to the depth as a new nurse.
    People are people and they die, more so if they are sick and in a hospital.
    get used to it.
    Last edit by Diamond Nurse on Mar 8, '07
  2. by   deb75855
    yes and no You do learn to detach but there are those who simply make your heart thier home. My first one I stood and watched him for 30 min just waiting for that next breath. Then I found myself captivated by the thoughts of "are you still here?"
  3. by   JSCOOBY
    I'm sorry for your loss. I have been a hospice nurse for the last six months and have lost many patients. I have had to acknowledge that my patients will die, and I try to make each and every moment I spend with them the best ever. You don't forget about them, but you learn to move on. Hang in there.
  4. by   lorster
    I took care of a quadraplegic man privately everyday for 11 years. He became part of my family. He died in 2004 and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through. After that, I decided I never wanted to do home health again in a private capacity. It was like losing a member of my family.
  5. by   heartlover07
    I would like to thank all of you wonderful nurses out there who have taken the time to write about your personal experience with a patient/patients that have passed on. I have found that I am feeling better as time goes on. I spoke to my instructor the day after and she helped, and I spoke to my mom who helped me put it into perspective with my particular belief system, so things have gotten better. I am so glad that I joined this supportive forum, it really helped so much to hear how you all dealt with the same thing that I went through!! Thanks so much!! ((((hugs))))
  6. by   djewel
    You cannot escape the sadness you feel when you loose a pt. I never said it was easy, it gets better, you learn to cope. You have got to understand dying is apart of living, and it always hurts no matter what. This may sound really corny, but we are all travelers on this earth, it is true, I believe. We all have our time. Another story of mine, is that I took care of a boy with CP for almost 7 years. I became close to him. But I never forgot I was his nurse and he would someday die. He lived so much longer than he was surpose to , he was 18 years old, the size of a nine year old. I grew close to his family as I did homecare. I was'nt as upset as I thought it would be, I guess is because I knew it would happen someday soon. I expected it, and knew he only had so much time on this earth. If we treated everyone like that, I think we might look at things differently. We might go that extra mile for someone, we might give an extra hug, we might spend more time, and give just alittle more. I miss him terribly, but I saw so much of it when I did hospice, I just know myself, I am only here for a short duration and so is everyone else, we just don't relize it too often. We can't spend our lives worrying about it, it's just the way God created us. When people die close to us, it takes alot of time to get through it, but if you can put something positive into something you think is negative, we all gain. I still see Bobby's mom, and she is still having such a hard time, if I could take all the hurt away, I would. I am definately designed to be a nurse, and get so frustrated with all the rules. I just gotta be me. My motto is this. "I can't do enough, so I want to do more". jewel"
    Last edit by djewel on Mar 9, '07
  7. by   mytoon38
    Just as the others have said, the first one is usually the worst. You do eventually learn how to deal with it, but it is never easy. Sometimes when a peson has suffered so long, you are actually relieved when they don't have to suffer anymore.

    Before I became a Nurse, I used to hear people say "Sometimes being alive is a lot worse than being dead"! I thought that was so cruel and heartless until I watched patients that were suffering so much. If you believe that the peson is going "to a better place" once they die, then it really is kind of a comfort to you. If you ever get where a death doesn't affect you, then you probably need to get out of nursing. I always say a prayer and make the sign of the cross, (of course that is strictly an individual thing) when the person expires. An older Nurse told me this when I first got out of school and I still do it to this day if at all possible.... "It is a good thing to open a window in a room if you can, so their soul can escape the room", even though this is probably not true, I still do it to this day if at all possible!

    Take Care!
  8. by   schoona
    Dear Hearlover07,
    I still remeber the name and diagnosis (fungating CA Breast) of my first patient death, that was in 1979. You always remember the first. i also remember my first cardiac arrest, then going back to the nurses quarters (trained the "old" way), debriefing with some of my peers, we were 1st years students and then one of the 3rd years taking me aside to give me some sage advice, so I thought. It was actually a double scotch neat. It helped but so did the debriefing. Now almost 30 years down the track, I don't remember all their names, but the first one stays with you always.
    Just remember, they are someones loved one.
    Regards Schoona
  9. by   SpringTXRN
    Quote from heartlover07
    This was a patient that I had for clinical 2 weeks ago and today when I went in they said that a patient had died this morning and asked if any of the students would like to perform or observe post-mortem care. I was reluctant but thought I am going to have to deal with it at some time or another, so may as well go in and do it. I did not know at the time that it was my patient from two weeks ago cause she had moved to a different room and they did not tell us the name of the patient. I was surprised to see that it was her because two weeks ago she was walking and talking. Turns out that over the last week she had been changed to hospice care and this morning she died. I am trying to deal with it but I have never seen a dead body other than my grandmother at the funeral home, and it was just strange. Does it get easier?
    I am a Hospice RN case mgr...so seeing dead people is a daily thing for me..but when I saw my first dying pt take their last breath it was kinda weird.
    Have had pts die with me holding their hand..it does get easier for most..some nurses or other healthcare just cant deal with the dying...it is not for everyone but you cant always predict when a pt is gonna die.
    Hang in there
  10. by   rotteluvr31
    I think of life as a continuum. Some of us are called to help bring life into the world, other RN's care children and adults, both young and old. At the other end of the continuum is death. It is a natural part of life that none of us can avoid. Providing care to a dying patient, or a recently deceased patient can be as much a privelege as bringing a newborn baby into the world. Many patients, especially those that know death is around the corner, are so grateful for every little kindness that you provide for them. Others are appear unaware, but who knows what they can really sense.

    Seeing your first dead body is undoubtedly a shock, we are so used to caring for the living, and most of us are in the business of making people better. I think the shock wears off, but hopefully, the feeling of respect for another human being never fades away.
  11. by   Chaya
    What has made it easier for me is realizing that, although there is not much more I can do for my patient, the family usually needs someone to hold their hand and walk them through the experience. I had the guidance of a number of wise nurses when my own parents were dying and this support was so important to helping me cope; now it's my turn to pass it on.
  12. by   SaraO'Hara
    I was on my way to the library this afternoon and helped in a resuscitation attempt... the man looked long gone though.

    That makes about... 10 dead patients so far, but it's still weird. I just learned to detach early on, understand that I did what I could, and God just wanted them home.