When I use the word "care" in the context of patient care, I always mean in the nursing sense not in the emotional sense, and that is what EVERY good nurse should be striving for. One can emotionally care about another person and yet do them absolutely no good, even harm them, because they are not providing good nursing care. For instance, I had a patient whose daughter was there all the time at the bedside, sitting there when her mother was sleeping and watching tv with her when she was awake. I had no doubt that the daughter cared about her mother very much but I also know that the main reason that the mother was in that hospital bed was because her very loving daughter did not want to place her in a nursing home where she COULD get the right kind of care that was needed, physically. Emotionally, the daughter was wonderful. But caring about someone and giving good care aren't the same thing. The mother arrived to my unit with pressure ulcers and dehydrated, with her meds all screwed up because the daughter should have hired help and didn't. Tell me, is this how she should care for her mother? She can love her but should delegate the care of her physical body to those who can do it best. In this case, ME!
I care that my patients get better and leave to go back to their homes. I take pleasure in knowing that I have helped people to feel better and sometimes regain some independence. I am not a mean ogre who doesn't care if people live or die, of course I care about that, but you need to be remember that good nursing isn't about emotional attachment, caring about someone with the kind of depth you would for your own family. I think that being attached to patients is what burns out too many new nurses honestly, they try to become some kind of personal angel to people who will use them up and then they have nothing left to give. ME, I can give great care and still go home to love my family because they aren't drawing from the same well.