How do I emotionally survive caring for a pedophile?

Nurses General Nursing

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I came to work today, and a new patient was added into the mix. A male, sick in prision, serving time as a pedafpile. I was raised in a very abusive home. I figured someday, I might have to deal with a situation like this. I defienetly had issues when I saw this man. I felt an immediate dislike, more like a repulsion. I did manage to do my job, and do the things I needed to do.

But there are many memories, and much pain dredged up today. On my drive home, I was moved to tears. I don't hate this man, but I hate what he did. I also hate what was done to me as a child. How do I get past this? This person will be in my care for some time to come. I work nights, so switching out patients isn't an option.

I thought I had dealt with my past, that my abuser doesn't rule my future. But, it did today. Does anyone have any experience with this?

John20

190 Posts

If you are a religious person you can have faith knowing that God will judge him in the end. Just remember that you are both people and giving him quality care inspite of your feelings/history is what sets you apart from the bad in society. That's something I would take a lot of pride in if I were you.

LuxCalidaNP

224 Posts

Specializes in Family Practice, Urgent Care, Cardiac Ca.

I actually have had experience with this, and the gentleman was also an ex PA who DEA was revoked for abuse...

It's hard to see lots of patient's without seeing them through a filter, especially hard when they mirror pain we have experienced. While those pain's integrate, the strength of their reflection often doesn't go away. I would never assume to know what you went through, or how hard it is with this particular patient, but I will offer some insights that perhaps will help.

If we are nurses, we are obligated to provide indiscriminate care. period. but that can be difficult when regardless of our efforts, we can't move past our own obstacles. In these cases, it is OKAY to request a different Pt. assignment. However, if you venture, as we often do, for an opportunity to stay open in the situation, I am an advocate for compassion.

From a Buddhist or Christian perspective, it all comes down to the pain involved. Remembering the pain caused to you, allow yourself to feel it, touch in with how much it hurt. At this point, there are two options: hate the perpetrator, or develop compassion for those others who experience the same pain.

Abuse is a perplexing and confusing dynamic to grapple with. Statistically, many, if not most abusers were abused themselves. regardless, it takes a lot of confusion, pain, and illness to do something so obviously wrong to growing human being.

I find that if I can have compassion for the pain that caused their actions, the adversity they now experience for their actions, and for the pain. I hope this helps, best of luck.

B

priznrn135

6 Posts

I work in a maximum security prison where most of my patients are molesters, beaters, cheaters, etc. In my gig, I am not allowed to be overly "nursy," I leave that for the hospital. Anyway, I think that how I can separate the sick person from the sick person, I remain detached and stay matter of fact. Some think that that is a total lack of personal care, but i disagree. My compassion and care comes in my care planning, critical thought and overall ability to remain detached. It's the way I protect myself. Plus, the correctional concept revolves around "fair, firm and consistent," not fluffy. As a nurse in an outside care facility, you are not doing your patient any favors by leaving that care concept.

Specializes in Med/Surg, Home Health.

There are two ways to look at this...

Face your past and try to come out of it a better person or come out of it with more feelings of hurt (a huge risk to take in my opinion).

or

Refuse the patient so he can receive compassionate care from a neutral nurse.

Honestly, I dont think you should care for this patient. If there is ever a personal issue with a patient, then it needs to be handed over to a different nurse. It will be hurtful to you and hurtful to the patient as well.

Nurses are human too with feelings and we cant help how we feel. Its ok to feel the way you do, we are not "super human" just because we are nurses.

BUT, at the same time, this patient deserves to receive compassionate healthcare and needs to have a nurse/doctor who can deliver such care. I dont think it would be in anyone's best interest for the two of you to mix. Ask for a different pt assignment.

I was a victim of abuse as well and honestly I dont think I could have any compassion for such a person...which is why they would need a differernt nurse.

Right now Im tired and am having a hard time with this post. But please take care of yourself. If you feel uneasy, then just dont do it. Ive had to ask for different assignments because of personal issues.

tencat

1,350 Posts

Wow, really tough situation and I feel for you. I guess you survive by doing what you have to do, do it well, and give no more than that. You certainly don't owe the guy anything more.

It's ok to cry and feel those feelings coming to the surface. Just recognize them for what they are and remind yourself that you are a survivor. I wasn't sexually abused, but I had physical and emotional abuse as a child. The feelings are always there in the back of my mind and surface at times, but I found that if I feel them, acknowledge that they are powerful enough to make me cry, they don't have as much power over me....if that makes any sense. The memories are part of who I am, and they will always be there. But I can choose to keep going and not let them overwhelm me.

Ellean55

89 Posts

Hi this is to the op. Have you ever thought about getting your supervisor get the patient assigned to another nurse. Would that help? *smiles*

Ellean55

89 Posts

Hi Prizin, I would like to ask how do you cope working in a maximum security prision where the people you give care to are deemed unfit to live in everyday society? I just wanted to ask how do you "steel" yourself for a shift each day/night etc? *smiles* just curious and fascinated at the same time.

JDCitizen

708 Posts

I work in a maximum security prison where most of my patients are molesters, beaters, cheaters, etc. In my gig, I am not allowed to be overly "nursy," I leave that for the hospital. Anyway, I think that how I can separate the sick person from the sick person, I remain detached and stay matter of fact. Some think that that is a total lack of personal care, but i disagree. My compassion and care comes in my care planning, critical thought and overall ability to remain detached. It's the way I protect myself. Plus, the correctional concept revolves around "fair, firm and consistent," not fluffy. As a nurse in an outside care facility, you are not doing your patient any favors by leaving that care concept.

I have to sort of agree here...

Although proper care means taking care of your patient at the level of care you were trained and are expected to deliver. Care cannot be delivered without some sort of emotional toil; life experiences will always come into play. In the end though we all must do our "jobs" to help each and every patient we have.

Pedophile, rapest, murderer, our the guy who just wiped out his family while drag racing.... Care has to be rendered.

In the end you said it best: "I did manage to do my job, and do the things I needed to do".

Your abuser doesn't rule your future: You did your job and more you are here sharing the experience.

Good for you, very good for you....

Specializes in Peds Hem, Onc, Med/Surg.

While I have no experience in this, I do know that nursing has a way of making you face your inner demons. It really comes down to facing those demons head on (or not at all) and growing from it.

I wish you best! Don't let it get you down.

Specializes in LTC.

I graduate in NS in a few weeks and this same exact concept has come across my mind. I've been sexually abused for years and I do recognize that I must not let my abuser take hold of my life. As a new nurse to be I know that there may be a time when I have to care for a child abuser, murderer, or any other criminal, and I'm fine with that. I forgave my abuser and I think that was a big step for me. If I can't forgive then I'll never be able to move on. I feel as though I will be able to seperate the sick pt. from the criminal pt. Nursing is about being compassionate and competent whether a person deserves it or not. We are not the ones to judge that matter anyway. We have to do our job regardless. Just my 0.002 cents.

OC_An Khe

1,018 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care,Recovery, ED.

The ethics of the profession deem care to all without regard to whomever or whatever they are. That said, you can ask not to care for these particular types patients

if that is at all possible. Given the staffing mix/ availability that may not be possible.

Nobody's past can be changed. The only thing that can be changed is how we deal with it; that is completely with our potential and control.

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