Let me start off by saying that I'm searching for advice.
Hx: I'm in my last semester of school from a 4 year program. I'm taking critical care, nursing management and community health. For my community health clinical I asked for, and got, Hospice care. This is a rotation I've wanted for a while and am very excited each week to go.
My problem is this: I'm a compassionate guy, and I really feel for the pts. and their families. There have been numerous times when I've been with my preceptor and a family member has begun to cry. Ive watched the nurse jump in and hug, or gently rub the arm of the grieving and all I really have felt comfortable doing is handing over a box of tissues.
Let me reassure you that this has nothing to do with lack of compassion, I have had no problems in the past with assisting in the grieving process within my own family or even with my friends and their families. My problem is that I'm deathly afraid that as a male nurse my attempt at therapeutic touch will be misconstrued as anything but appropriate. Ive had experiences on previouse clinicals where Ive been scrutinized for touching my pts. simply because I'm male.
Does anyone else have similar experiences and/or advice? I'm dying over here (no pun intended) because I WANT to help my pts. and their families but don't know the best way.