I just lost my husband and now not sure if I should be a nurse



I just lost my husband on Sunday due to cancer. Now I am not sure if I should be a nurse. We had to take him off live support and watching him die hit me so hard. I always thought I be a nurse every since I was little. Never had to think about doing anything else in life but not sure if I could handle watching people die.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

165 Articles; 21,215 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

I am so sorry for your loss.

Now isn't the time to make these career decisions. Focus on your grief and give yourself plenty of time before you make these decisions.

Again...I'm so very sorry.


165 Posts

Specializes in nursing student.

I am so sorry for your loss. I will tell you that I lost my mother in law in 2007 to cancer and had thought about being a nurse the whole time we were doing in home hospice with her and for a short time after she passed, I did not want to. Ultimately though, I knew it was what I wanted to do, to be able to help people like her and your husband be free from pain (as free as they can be) and help others get better. Now is not the time to make life decisions.

Be with your family right now, grieve your husband and think about that decision later. I can not even imagine what it would be like to lose my husband, it was hard enough to lose his mother. My heart and prayers are with you and your family in this horrible time. *hugs*


400 Posts

Specializes in Maternity.

yes i agree with one of the other posters, take some time out for yourself. grieve your loss, let yourself sort things out.

good luck to you and your family. i will keep you in my prayers:heartbeat

Bo Shoi Ming

112 Posts

My deepest condolances on your loss. The old rule of thumb is not to do anything major for a year is probably good advice. Maybe not a whole year for some, longer for others.

Check out a group called "Grief Share" usually meeting at churches. Around here they seem to be at Methodist or Baptist Churches.

I wouldn't want a nurse caring for me or my family who wouldn't be upset by the death of someone. Shows you are a caring human being and one that should be in nursing.

Me, I want to be in neo-natal nursing because I'm overwhelmed with joy to the point of tears to see the miracle of a baby being born. My family physician says he can understand but I should also know when things go wrong in neo-natal they really go wrong.

Give your heart time to heal and then revisit your question about going into nursing. Only you will be able to make that decision of course.

In the short time I've been a nursing student I experienced a woman having a stroke and was told the wrong way to give mouth to mouth by the EMT on the phone--I did it the way I was trained and the woman is recovering,

I came across an broadside accident with people & a baby sitting in a car that was leaking gasoline--they weren't thinking didn't get out of the car until I stopped and yelled at them GET OUT--it didn't catch on fire.

Finally an elderly woman tripped on a ramp into a restaurant and fell flat on her face and just laid there. I asked the family members if they wanted to call 911 and they said no. We want to eat! The lady finally sat on the concrete and I asked her if she'd hit her head--no--then looked at her pupils--both the same size so no apparent brain damage. They ate at the restaurant and as we left and told them to make sure they check her pupil size as that is an indication of some kind of brain damage. They were the ones that had the brain damage with their uncaring attitude.

So those stories makes me feel good but still doesn't compare to the loss of my mother who died cell by cell over two years.


I wouldn't even consider what your next steps should be until you are well past grieving for your most profound loss.

And my sincere sympathy.

Give yourself time. How can you possibly make a decision about the rest of your life when you have just lost your life partner?

We're here to talk.



59 Posts

My deepest condolences on your loss. As everyone else has stated, do not make any hasty decisions. Take time to grieve and heal. This is not the season to make life changing decisions.


507 Posts

I am sorry you lost your husband. You will get through this, but in time.

Pediatric Critical Care Columnist / Guide

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

16 Articles; 7,358 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

I too would like to offer my condolences for your loss. You need to take the time to grieve and to map out your life in its new version without thinking too hard about career changes. Put your plans to become a nurse on the back burner and just work on getting through the next few months.

Almost two years ago, a good friend of mine was feeling burnt out and wanted a change, so she went back to CCU. She had just finished her orientation and started her new rotation there when her husband of 33 years suffered a massive heart attack and ended up in that very CCU on life support. After an agonizing week they withdrew life sustaining therapies and he died. She took some time off, but not enough. She went back to work in the CCU and was just not able to do it. They allowed her to transfer to the cath lab, and she liked the work but found wearing 50 pounds of lead for 8 hours a day to be too difficult. So she came back to the PICU. But you know what? After she took the time to properly deal with her grief, she was able to go back to the CCU and is working very happily there now.

So the message is that you should not even think about working as a nurse until you've come to terms with your husband's death and have had a chance to work through all the emotions that watching him die has produced. Then and only then should you make a decision about becoming a nurse. Take good care of yourself and your family, and take as much time as it takes to get yourself into a better place.

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