Nurses are human beings with emotions, not robots. Emotions are funny things in that we aren't always in control of where they lead our minds. Everyone has "that point" emotionally, and to ignore it or expect that it must NEVER happen is dangerous and neglectful to our coworkers and peers.
Hell, the Ft Hood shooter was a caregiver. His peers expected him to be able to "provide care and not let it get to him" (and many other thoughts being tossed around in this thread). That didn't work out so well, did it?
I work emergency, with an adult and pedi population. I would be alert if a pedi code came in, and the nurse whose room it was being worked had a child the same age. I wouldn't demand they not treat the patient, but I'm watching them to see if they're coping ok. I once worked with a woman who had lost her mother to a drunk driver, and it was her first week back. A drunk driver was brought in, and no one expected the nurse to care for him that soon after her tragedy...we swapped patients. She soon recovered emotionally and was able to provide care for these frequent patients, but we still provided her with a little TLC when she did.
The community around Ft Hood is so closely tied to the base and it's military culture. My heart just ached for the staff that had to care for this patient. Yeah...you provide care, not judgement. But for the staff, if they didn't have someone they cared about on base that day, they were likely close to someone who did. To expect that emotions were forbidden to play a role is wrong. Would you assign the shooter to a nurse who's husband was on the base that day? I suspect that is one reason he was transferred to Brooks....military staff there are familiar with the distinct emotions that go along with "caring for the enemy" (similar to corrections nurses). Even so, the staff (civi and military) that provides care to him has demons to deal with that most of us are, thankfully, unfamiliar with. To ignore those emotions and expect staff to treat a patient such as this one without any aftermath is sad and dangerous.
We all have our "breaking point". I have never had a patient that I couldn't care for because of my own personal baggage. But I have always been acutely aware of where my point may be lurking during that particular epoch in my life, and I would hope that should I be forced to face that demon one night, my coworkers would help me...and not simply say, "You are a nurse, get over it and provide care and don't let your feelings play a part."