Is it hard not to get attatched? - page 2

I'm thinking that it's going to be difficult not to get attatched to the children i'm nursing. Does this happen, and how do you deal with it? Your help makes me smile :)... Read More

  1. by   tattooednursie
    I never worked with children, I work in LTC. I do get attatched though. Letting go is a difficult thing for me even though I realize that they had already lived their lives. I've been a CNA for a year now, and I still get weepy when some one dies. They say it takes time, but I don't know how much. I don't want to be hard hearted ever, but I am getting a little better about it. My first death happened a month or so after I became an aide. I nearly lost it. I was uncontrolably crying, and couldn't really do my job well. They didn't expect me to come back! The second death, I still nearly lost it, but I was a little bit better on finishing the shift okay. I still cry when they die, but I "get over it" quicker. Instead of sitting at the nurses station crying my eyes out, I just do my work while wiping tear away, and put on a happy face for the rest of my patients.

    It does take time, but you don't want to be "hard". I tried to be hard, and detatched, but I found that I'm not as friendly, and more crabby at work. I have to get attatched to care, and have fun with my patients.

    I hope that helped some.
  2. by   eb_rn
    there is a difference in getting attached and overstepping boundaries......i love working with kids, and do get attached and work with long term vent kids as well as rsv, pneumonia, etc...and, yes, i do see abused kids....and get attached, the trick is learning to leave work at work, not take it going shopping for clothes, toys, etc for a kid; or calling in every day off to check on the kid....have even seen some nurses come in on their day off and bathe, feed, change diapers,etc just like a mom.....thats is over stepping boundaries, there have been 3 kids i have really wanted to take home....very attached.....but have kept my boundary intact.....and this was hard to do. being attached is not a bad thing, as long as it doesnt effect ur work/ home life, etc.
  3. by   nursiemitch
    i think the key is passion (as others have said). if you have pasison for the children, for their families, for their lives while they share their time with you, then you are doing family centred care, and you become very attached.
    "My" boy died a week ago. he had been on the ward with us for three months, and we primary nursed him, so I had him for the majority of my shifts. I considered him the cutest little dude I have ever met, and his parents were like best friends.
    They called me in on my day off when they turned off his humidified oxygen, and they called me when he died. I consider it a privilege to have been so loved and cared for by this family.
    I have since visited the boy at home, attended his funeral, and have been asked to his parents combined birthday.
    Sometimes, you just have people who cross your path that profoundly affect how you think and feel, and they drastically influence you to become the best you can be.
    I agree that if this happened with every family, the burn out rate would be huge.
    but some kids................. well they just strike the right cord dont they?
  4. by   live4today
    As a former pediatric nurse myself, and a mother of my own three children, and a grandmother of 12, it's not only tough not to get attached, but I think it would be absolutely impossible and inhuman not to get attached. I'd wonder about any nurse caring for children who did not get attached in a caring, motherly way.

    Adult patients are one thing, but when caring for little ones, they need you as much as you want to give of yourself to them, so don't worry about getting attached. Be yourself, be real with kids......they can see and feel insincerity better than any adult.

    You will be the one learning a lot from the kids, especially the kids with terminal illnesses that deal with death much better than we adults do.

    Anyone who goes into pediatrics will come away each day having grown stronger because the kids are strong and tough and teach us much. God bless the little ones. :kiss
  5. by   Shed13911
    I think if you have a heart in nursing, there is no getting around getting attatched to some patients. I have been a nurse for 26 years. I have worked the entire life range from L&D to Geriatrics. I have been attatched to many patients over the years. Sometimes I have made friends and stayed in contact for a while afterwards. I have learned so much from my patients over the years. The ones I grew closest with were my premie patients. They had such a rough start but it was so rewarding to teach them to eat, grow, hold their temp in a crib etc.. It was even more rewarding teaching their parents how to care for them and getting them home. I kept up with a great deal of them to make sure that they knew we did not forget about them when they left the hospital. I was able to help new parents and pts by what I had learned from the ones that came before them. It was wonderful to see a really young parent do especially well when we didn't think they could do it. Now I do Pedi telephone triage and I still have parents call and ask for me. We have never met but they know that I truely care about them and their child. I think that true caring needs to come through in any contact we have with our patients, young or old!!
  6. by   melipeds
    Hmmm, I have a few thoughts on this issue.

    1. I don't believe in " not getting attached". I have studied attachment theory and I think attachment is an important part of relating. The trick is to know the right level of attachment. Like people have said before, keep it in your professional life. You can still care, be friendly, cry at a death, go to a funeral, call someone up to check how they are going FROM WORK (ie in your professional capacity) but not become overly involved in that persons life. Showing your care and concern, and sad feelings when someone leaves or dies, doesn't signify that you have become too attached. It just shows that you care. I guess the acid test is how important they are to your continuing life... if knowing how that patient is, or keeping in contact with them is necessary for your happiness and well being...then you have become too attached! But if you sometimes think of someone that you have cared for, and became fond of, well that is completely normal, human empathy.

    2. Trying to "not get attached" can lead to problems with patients feeling like you are holding them at a distance, or not caring about them, or that you don't like them.

    3. Being your most friendly, caring, sweet, touchy self does not necessarily mean that you become "attached". You can be very caring and give your all to a patient without becoming dependant on their response for your survival, and even do all that and forget their name when you go home!

    4. We all have favourite patients, we can't help liking some more than others. We just have to try hard to give all our patients our equal care, even if we don't feel caring towards them. But having favourite patients isn't a sign that we are too attached. (Demonstrating favouritism is bad practice though, so keep those thoughts private.)

    So what exactly do you mean be becoming too attached? Do you mean that you might like them? No sin there. Do you mean you won't want them to go home? Hmmm, isn't it nice to think that they are better and not having to hang around the hospital? Do you mean you are happy to see a regular child returning for treatment? Hey, they like to be greeted with cheerful recognition. Do you mean you are worried that you will cry a lot? It's normal to cry when sad, and children dying is sad. Accept the tears. Do you mean that you think you will become so sad when someone leaves or dies that you will become despondant and unable to continue working? Then you need help. That isn't a joke. I mean you need to get some peer support, or counselling, or change jobs.

    Hope that helps.
  7. by   Okiecruffler
    I think that if you aren't feeling some level of attachment you may want to look into another field. The trust issue with peds is hard enough, and if they don't feel that you are connecting with them in some way it makes it that much worse. I become very attached to many of my kids, but I do not attend funerals, I do not call on my days off to see how they are doing (my co-workers are nice enough to call me if one of them passes in my absence), and I do not maintain ties with families after they leave or give them my home numbers or address. But during those 12 hours a night, those kids are mine, and I treat them as such.
  8. by   PediRN
    I'm totally baffled at the peds nurses who don't get attached.....are they human??
    I get attached to all of my patients, but to paraphrase someone from above, I don't take it home with me that much (anymore). After my heart broke about a hundred times, I needed to figure out a better way. They get all my love when I'm at work; kisses, hugs, "zerbets", you name it. Then I go home and try not to think about it.
  9. by   UK2USA
    I work in a PICU in a dedicated childrens hospital. Most of the kids we see are sedated and muscle relaxed, so I don't tend to get too attached. To become attached I think that you need to be able to build some sort of two-way relationship with the patient. That said however, as I tend to get more involved with the parents in what is the most stressful and frightening time of their lives I get very attached to them. Explaining to a family that you are withdrawing care in a futile case is extremely hard - especially if you have become close to them. The child, as harsh as it sounds, arrived broken - if we can fix the patient all well and good, if not - I concentrate on what I can do to make the best of the situation.
  10. by   PedsNurse1981
    I get attached. Yeah, it hurts when a child passes that I'm attached to, but it's all part of the process for me. I'd rather have the child enrich my life while they're here, than to put a wall between me and them. I do sometimes contact them when they leave the hospital. Working with oncology kids, it's hard not to get attached they're here for so long.