The most heartbreaking thing ive ever had to do :( - page 2
Ok, so I kinda need to get this off my chest, since the people who would understand it the most, are you guys. So last week, I had this patient who was 45 years old, and had cancer. She had a hx of... Read More
Feb 23, '04Occupation: Well it was med surg/onc, but now we do ortho/neuro too. Im seeing and doing it all! Joined: Feb '04; Posts: 38thanks everyone for your words, it helps to know that, Im not the only one whos had to do this, its just hard, but you all are the best, (hugs to you!)
Feb 23, '04Occupation: Home Health Patient Education Resource Nurse Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in Hemodialysis, Home Health ; From: US ; Joined: Aug '02; Posts: 21,359; Likes: 7,204Quote from traumaRUsTruly. I've shed many a tear myself in this business. We MUST allow ourselves these feelings... htey are healing in and of themselves.Thanks on behalf of that family for being there. You are a wonderful and caring nurse, not to mention a great person too. Take care...its okay to cry!
And you're right... the first place I come to is HERE... these folks are always here for us.
Warmest (((HUGS))) to you.
Feb 23, '04Occupation: cardiovascular nurse Specialty: 12 year(s) of experience in ccu cardiovascular ; Joined: Oct '03; Posts: 645; Likes: 233It is so difficult when the patient is young and has a young vibrant family. LAst fall i had a patient in similar circumstances that i had gotten close to. She was a 38 year old woman with 1 son age 22, and 2 daughters twins at age 16. She was a single parent. She knew she did not have long, but was expecting a first grandbaby from her son in november(it was sept). Her only dying wish was to look at her new grandbaby, she never made it. She died on my shift and consoling those young girls and holding my composure was the hardest thing i ever done. I think about them often. I think as nurses if we lose that emotional edge that made us want to be a nurse in the first place we fail at being the best nurse we can be.
Feb 23, '04Joined: Feb '04; Posts: 16; Likes: 2Been An Rn For 39 Years And I'm Still Practicing. My Main Areas Of Practice Have Been Peds And Medicine. Throughout That Time I Have Probably Been With Hundreds Of Patients And Families At The Time Of Death. It Never Gets Easier But I Have Always Regarded It As A Privilege That I Was There To Help And Share The Process. Death Is Not Frightening. It Is Truly Something Beautiful And Being Able To Help The Patient And The Family Feel Comfortable And Loved Comes With Time. Our Higher Power Directs Us, This Is For Me One Of The Most Important Parts Of Being A Nurse. I Realize I'm On My Soapbox But There Comes A Time When We Put Our Own Feelings Aside And Do For The Ones Who Need Us.
Feb 23, '04Occupation: Regustered Nurse Joined: Oct '03; Posts: 29I am only a student, but I can only hope I can show the same compassion that you gave to the family. You sound like a truely wonderful, caring nurse.
Feb 23, '04Occupation: Charge Nurse/Outreach Nurse - Critical Care Services Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience ; Joined: Oct '01; Posts: 43; Likes: 3Hey there,
I read your story quite by accident but I felt that must say something. Your reaction, whilst ovbiously very upsetting to you, sounds like it was entirely appropriate for the family and, for that, they will never forget you and your kindness. It may not seem like much now but it will, hopefully, put things into perspective later down the line.
The job that we do is one of the hardest imaginable things from an emotional angle and we would be sad and sorry individuals if we didn't take on board some of our charges worries and woes!
I, personally, have been doing this job for quite a number of years and I work primarily in trauma ICU so I have, unfortunately, been witness to more than my share of similar situations. I can honestly say that I have absolutely no problem with showing my emotions in these situations. I found that it works for me. I will do what I can for my people and, if the need arises, I get myself out the back and cry like a baby! Trust me, it is good for the soul!
On one level I think you are right. No-one ever truly understands this unless they go through it. If you have some good people in your workplace don't be afraid to let them help you through this stuff. It is a sign of a normal person to be upset by this.
A previous respondent said that it never gets any easier. They are right. It doesn't. I think that it is a good thing that it doesn't, 'cos if I felt nothing it would be time to get my coat and head for the door!
You'll be fine, 'cos it sounds like you are doing all the right things. Just keep on keepin' on and remember........there is ALWAYS ice-cream for the bad days!!
Keep the faith!
Mar 4, '06Joined: Dec '05; Posts: 860; Likes: 105Handling death is perhaps the most emotional part of nursing- for some reason it effects everyone that cares for the patient. Unfortuneately we don't have a care plan for nurses on how to deal with theirselves on dying patients. Many times I have looke at a dying patient and wondered what in the world they could have done that was so horrible for them to be dying in such a manner-the pain and suffering-and how much more morphine before
any of their pain eases. Other deaths I have witnessed have been absolutely beautiful-with all the family around the loved one no one fighting or blaming each other- everyone holding each other and the loved takes their last breath and passes. I remember when my own father passed away and how the television was softly playing in the background and as he was taking his last breaths a bell started ringing on the television-his last breath was with the last ringing of the bell-it was beautiful. I try to help my patients families see death as a beautiful experience.
Mar 5, '06Occupation: Care coordinater & prn ICU Joined: Mar '04; Posts: 195; Likes: 26I have a friend and co-worker who used to do Hospice care. She said you have to look at deaths like birth..some are easy, some are difficult. some are welcomed, and some aren't ready yet. There's always going to be some deaths that are hard to deal with. Just think of the comfort and help you can offer someone going through that crisis. I feel God puts us in those situations for a reason; he knows who needs to be there.
Mar 5, '06Joined: May '05; Posts: 290; Likes: 12I'm pretty new to this website forum, but your letter is the best reason I can think of for this website to exist: just so you can talk to, and be listened by, other nurses. Your caring, kind heart is really evident and I hope you feel just a touch better by sharing your story.
Mar 5, '06Joined: Feb '06; Posts: 26; Likes: 1During my second placement this week, I helped to look after a rta patient who is only young.It was a 'hit & run'. One of his daughters had recently had a baby, so when I entered his room, it was heart-rendering to see the picture of his grandchild next to him in the bed and I tried to fight back the tears. His wife is also a nurse, so I know it's going to be a real privilege to provide care for him and his family, and at the same time, challenging emotionally-speaking. We all keep upbeat as his partner informs me that he has a wicked sense of humour. Needless to say, it is difficult to 'switch off' and for me personally, having had my partner in ICU and about to have surgery next month, I do think it's hard to manage now and again. We're all human. Look after you!
Mar 5, '06Occupation: Medical Imaging RN~Special Procedures CT Specialty: 33 year(s) of experience in OB, M/S, HH, Medical Imaging RN ; Joined: Aug '04; Posts: 6,708; Likes: 1,449I think the best nurses are the ones who can put themselves in the families shoes, who can cry with family, or who grieve in private when it's over.
Life seems so unfair sometimes. The younger the patient the harder it is for me. I've held a dying child when the parents could not. This almost made me quit nursing, that was 20 years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday.
My only solace in situations like these are to remind myself that the person who passed is now in Heaven, happy and pain free and that death is only painful for those of us who are left behind to mourn.
Mar 5, '06Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 3Hi
Sorry you are feeling so deeply, but if you ever don't feel this way about a heart breaking situation leave nursing.
I've been in the critical cares for 30 + years, you know what it doesn't get any easier, and I'm glad that we are still able to cry.
Mar 5, '06Specialty: NICU ; Joined: Nov '03; Posts: 3,768; Likes: 252You did a great job and should be proud of yourself. You are only 20 years old and already have had to deal with one of the hardest parts of our job as nurses - and you handled it well.
When I first started my career, one of my coworkers told me something that I'll never forget...
When it STOPS getting to you, that's when you need to get out of nursing.
We are human. We see people at their best, and their worst. We become witnesses to the most exhilerating and heartbreaking moments in other peoples' lives. Being compassionate is a big part of our job, and it's only natural to feel like your heart is being ripped out sometimes. But as some of the other posters have pointed out - it's such a priviledge to be a part of this process. The familes will never forget you or your kindness.
You can't let it get to you too much - meaning that you shouldn't go home crying everyday. You need to leave work at the hospital, most of the time. But when you have a patient dying while in your care, there is absolutey nothing wrong with FEELING it. It's normal. It's the hardest part of our job.
I don't know how it is on other units, but where I work, it's acceptable to shed tears with the family. Most of us do, as a matter of fact. Even the doctors and nurse practitioners cry sometimes. Some choose to walk away and do it privately, while others don't hold back and cry with the family present. Of course, I work with babies, and I can think of few things more heartbreaking than the death of a child. Whenever we recieve a letter from a family that lost a baby on our unit, they always seem to work in a line or two about the tears of the staff members caring for their child. They are comforted to know that we are hurting too, and they often say that it reassured them that we really did do everything we could. We know their children better than most of their own families, since they've lived in the hospital, in our care, since their births. We are such a big part of their short lives. It's acceptable and even encouraged for us to attend their funerals, for closure.
I know that if it was me, and I was losing a family member...I would be comforted if the nurses cried with me. It would make me feel like my family member was in good hands - compassionate, caring, HUMAN hands.
You take care.Last edit by Gompers on Mar 5, '06