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Have you ever cried in front of the relatives?

Posted

It's a very sad stage for one of my patients. Long story short, he is not getting the morphine that I believe he truly needs for comfort right now. I think he's in pain. The whole situation has been upsetting to me, and I cried right in front of his daughter, who then started crying as well. I felt bad because I feel like I should have been a better support.

Morainey, BSN, RN

Specializes in Orthopedic, LTC, STR, Med-Surg, Tele.

I'm not sure what your role is here... are you his nurse? Be a good patient advocate and ask for his morphine to be increased. If you are a student, address it with his assigned nurse.

westieluv

Specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, Dialysis, Hospice. Has 26 years experience.

As an on-call hospice nurse, there were times when I got teary eyed when I went to a home for a death call, particularly when it was for an eight year old and then a two year old. In a situation like that, though, I think you would have to have a heart of stone to not have it affect you, and I think the families completely understood.

I'm a home care CNA. His family is refusing any Morphine because they're in denial about how serious his condition is. They believe giving morphine will quicken the death. He's going to pass whether he has it or not. I just feel like I'm not being allowed to make him comfortable.

Westieluv, those sound like horribly sad situations. I feel like NOT crying or showing sadness would have been inappropriate.

westieluv

Specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, Dialysis, Hospice. Has 26 years experience.

Purple_roses, I can totally understand where you're coming from. It is completely different when you are in a patient's home, as opposed to a controlled environment like a hospital or nursing home. People let their guard down when they are in the safety and privacy of their own homes, and the dynamics, both with the patients and with the families, are just different.

I understand that sometimes it is such a helpless feeling when you are not allowed to do what you know is in the best interest of the patient and they are suffering. You sound like a sweet, caring person. :)

Morainey, BSN, RN

Specializes in Orthopedic, LTC, STR, Med-Surg, Tele.

Sorry, I was thinking you were in an acute care setting such as a hospital. I'm not really familiar with how this situation would play out in a home care setting.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

I've cried with family members before. No great bursts of weeping and wailing, but there have been times when I couldn't help letting a few tears fall. Some situations are SO sad, and being an empath, I tend to take on other peoples' emotions and make them my own. It's always been a delicate balance, but I've never lost control and in most instances I think the tears were healing.

Some deaths are harder to handle than others, but all touch us in some way, even if it's only relief that someone who was mean and nasty is now out of his/her misery.

I'm a home care CNA. His family is refusing any Morphine because they're in denial about how serious his condition is. They believe giving morphine will quicken the death. He's going to pass whether he has it or not. I just feel like I'm not being allowed to make him comfortable.

I had to deal with this type of thing a number of times when I was a hospice nurse. It also occurs when DPOA (usually a son) is a recovering drug addict, and thinks their parent (usually the mother) should not get any type of narc. No amount of talks from social work or MD have helped when I've had a pt who has the misfortune to have this type of person as their DPOA.

I had to deal with this type of thing a number of times when I was a hospice nurse. It also occurs when DPOA (usually a son) is a recovering drug addict, and thinks their parent (usually the mother) should not get any type of narc. No amount of talks from social work or MD have helped when I've had a pt who has the misfortune to have this type of person as their DPOA.

It's such a hard situation, and I feel so helpless. I wish we could override the DPOA wishes in these scenarios. What's hard is also trying to handle the family, because they truly are good people who want the best for their dad. They just aren't processing the grief in a way that's beneficial to their dad.

It's such a hard situation, and I feel so helpless. I wish we could override the DPOA wishes in these scenarios. What's hard is also trying to handle the family, because they truly are good people who want the best for their dad. They just aren't processing the grief in a way that's beneficial to their dad.

Can you talk to your manager or social worker?

And, yes, I have cried with/in front of pts and their families.

(((hugs)))

As a general rule, I do not cry with or in front of patients or their families. It is not because I'm cold or heartless, I just don't want to make the situation about me or my feelings and get too wrapped up in the emotions around me. In most cases, family is present and I feel that they need a nurse who is there for support but doesn't get so involved that they cannot do their job. I have cried holding the hand of a patient of mine who died a slow, agonizing death with no family present. Another nurse was thoughtful enough to come quietly sit with me. You would have to be made of stone to never cry for your patient's or their families......we're only human. However, if I cried every time I wanted to and let myself get too personally involved, it would eventually wear on me to the point that I could no longer do my job effectively. Therefore I have learned to be sympathetic while still remaining professional.

Can you talk to your manager or social worker?

I've talked with my manager about it. She's considering talking to the relatives about the severity of their dad's condition and about prioritizing his comfort.

As a general rule, I do not cry with or in front of patients or their families. It is not because I'm cold or heartless, I just don't want to make the situation about me or my feelings and get too wrapped up in the emotions around me. In most cases, family is present and I feel that they need a nurse who is there for support but doesn't get so involved that they cannot do their job. I have cried holding the hand of a patient of mine who died a slow, agonizing death with no family present. Another nurse was thoughtful enough to come quietly sit with me. You would have to be made of stone to never cry for your patient's or their families......we're only human. However, if I cried every time I wanted to and let myself get too personally involved, it would eventually wear on me to the point that I could no longer do my job effectively. Therefore I have learned to be sympathetic while still remaining professional.

I think your approach is a good one. It's definitely something I need to work on. I feel that a lot of the time, the family needs a strong support that they can rely on in tough situations. Hopefully I'll have gotten better at this by the time I graduate nursing school.

I just did it a couple of nights ago. I also told them I would be keeping them in my thoughts. It was just wet eyes, not flowing tears or sobs. They could see it in my face that I cared. They hugged me and said thank you. I think it really helps when they know we are are human and we care about their loved one, too, and share in their grief.

I was moved when we went to take my relative off life support and there were several tears by the nurses and a doc and it made me feel we were not alone, and they were going to take good care of my relative.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

I think your approach is a good one. It's definitely something I need to work on. I feel that a lot of the time, the family needs a strong support that they can rely on in tough situations. Hopefully I'll have gotten better at this by the time I graduate nursing school.
((HUGS)) It is a difficult situation...someone needs to talk with the family. My Aunt was convinced that the morphine would kill my grandmother....in this case it was my family and I let them have the cold hard facts that MY grandmother wasn't going to suffer til her last breath....and she didn't.

I have cried in front of families there are times you can' help it as that single tear sneaks out and down your cheek as you say I am so sorry.

It is a skill like anything else in nursing. ((HUGS)) Bless you for caring.

I've talked with my manager about it. She's considering talking to the relatives about the severity of their dad's condition and about prioritizing his comfort.

She better hurry up.

No I can't say that I have