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This is really taking a toll on me...#Vent

Disasters   (1,770 Views | 16 Replies)
by Alexa Weaver Alexa Weaver (New) New

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To begin, I am a nursing assistant on a med-surg ICU floor in Michigan. We were one of the first floors to be designated for positive-only Covid-19 patients, so it's starting to feel like the new 'normal'. However, nothing about this is like anything we are used to.

Our first positive patient was what we call a walkie-talkie. They were one of the nicest people I've ever met, and when I found out they were intubated, I was hoping it wouldn't be for long. They had CRRT. They were proned several times. They coded and were brought back. Yesterday they were terminally weaned. I know this sounds familiar to a lot of nurses out there, but I really had a lot of hope for this patient to be the one to make it out of here. They were only 51.

These are the things that really bother me:

1. The majority of our patients have no past medical history. This makes it harder for the families to understand why their loved one is so sick and why they probably won't make it.

2. The no visitor policy means that most families are dropping off their loved ones without knowing if they'll ever see them alive again. Some may get to be there as they are passing, while others will have to wait until the funeral.

3. Seeing people die every shift I work has led me into a deep depression. I love the ICU and when I graduate, I plan on applying here. But this is different than the chronically ill/chronically vented patients being put on hospice. This is death out of nowhere.

4. The thing that gives me nightmares is the fact that the majority of these patients are significantly younger than my parents - whom I live with. I try to put myself in these family's shoes, but I can't imagine what they're going through..I never had anxiety until now...

I just needed to get this out on paper, because all of my coworkers are either taking this significantly better than I am, or significantly worse by thinking that they have it or are going to catch it. I can't wait until this is all over. God bless everyone else out there going through the same thing.

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13 hours ago, Alexa Weaver said:

To begin, I am a nursing assistant on a med-surg ICU floor in Michigan. We were one of the first floors to be designated for positive-only Covid-19 patients, so it's starting to feel like the new 'normal'. However, nothing about this is like anything we are used to.

Our first positive patient was what we call a walkie-talkie. They were one of the nicest people I've ever met, and when I found out they were intubated, I was hoping it wouldn't be for long. They had CRRT. They were proned several times. They coded and were brought back. Yesterday they were terminally weaned. I know this sounds familiar to a lot of nurses out there, but I really had a lot of hope for this patient to be the one to make it out of here. They were only 51.

These are the things that really bother me:

1. The majority of our patients have no past medical history. This makes it harder for the families to understand why their loved one is so sick and why they probably won't make it.

2. The no visitor policy means that most families are dropping off their loved ones without knowing if they'll ever see them alive again. Some may get to be there as they are passing, while others will have to wait until the funeral.

3. Seeing people die every shift I work has led me into a deep depression. I love the ICU and when I graduate, I plan on applying here. But this is different than the chronically ill/chronically vented patients being put on hospice. This is death out of nowhere.

4. The thing that gives me nightmares is the fact that the majority of these patients are significantly younger than my parents - whom I live with. I try to put myself in these family's shoes, but I can't imagine what they're going through..I never had anxiety until now...

I just needed to get this out on paper, because all of my coworkers are either taking this significantly better than I am, or significantly worse by thinking that they have it or are going to catch it. I can't wait until this is all over. God bless everyone else out there going through the same thing.

I'm so sorry you are going through this.

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13 hours ago, Alexa Weaver said:

To begin, I am a nursing assistant on a med-surg ICU floor in Michigan. We were one of the first floors to be designated for positive-only Covid-19 patients, so it's starting to feel like the new 'normal'. However, nothing about this is like anything we are used to.

Our first positive patient was what we call a walkie-talkie. They were one of the nicest people I've ever met, and when I found out they were intubated, I was hoping it wouldn't be for long. They had CRRT. They were proned several times. They coded and were brought back. Yesterday they were terminally weaned. I know this sounds familiar to a lot of nurses out there, but I really had a lot of hope for this patient to be the one to make it out of here. They were only 51.

These are the things that really bother me:

1. The majority of our patients have no past medical history. This makes it harder for the families to understand why their loved one is so sick and why they probably won't make it.

2. The no visitor policy means that most families are dropping off their loved ones without knowing if they'll ever see them alive again. Some may get to be there as they are passing, while others will have to wait until the funeral.

3. Seeing people die every shift I work has led me into a deep depression. I love the ICU and when I graduate, I plan on applying here. But this is different than the chronically ill/chronically vented patients being put on hospice. This is death out of nowhere.

4. The thing that gives me nightmares is the fact that the majority of these patients are significantly younger than my parents - whom I live with. I try to put myself in these family's shoes, but I can't imagine what they're going through..I never had anxiety until now...

I just needed to get this out on paper, because all of my coworkers are either taking this significantly better than I am, or significantly worse by thinking that they have it or are going to catch it. I can't wait until this is all over. God bless everyone else out there going through the same thing.

I feel you! We all feel you! This virus is so unpredictable. Some get mild to no symptoms and others die, the scientists are trying to figure out why, for us the frontline, it's causing us anxiety and depression, we need each other during these awful times, we try to laugh and take pictures together before and after our shift, we're helping each other in ways we wouldn't normally cause we're all in thus together. Stay safe and God bless you.

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Nurse SMS has 9 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

7 Followers; 6,345 Posts; 49,474 Profile Views

I am sending you virtual hugs and serious thoughts of peace and light. You sound so caring and so capable. Thank you for your tender heart.

Please be sure you are getting out of doors on your days off. Use your hospital's EAP program to talk to a counselor. Don't try to muscle through this. Nothing about this is normal. Keep coming here and writing it out if it helps.

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You're not alone in severe stress and anxiety; I seriously don't know whether I'm going back to my job or even back to nursing at this point. I was hired for a non-acute position, wanted nothing to do with the higher-stress/higher-risk specialties, couldn't even qualify for them if I wanted to at this point with my lack of experience (was even shot down from attempting to apply)...but suddenly, just the fact that I'm a warm body and have a nursing license is enough to float me to the unit or the ER. It's hard to say whether "pissed off" or "scared you-know-what" is higher right now: I have no acute care background, got one 4-hour training session between the two intense/possibly-high-acuity specialties, and am now expected to float whenever they demand me to. I could clock in, thinking it's "business as usual" with my regular position and then be floated. I, too, live with my elderly mother (or, rather, because of debilitating health issues, she lives with me) who is immunocompromised. I just don't know what to do anymore. It's to the point where I'm becoming physically ill due to exacerbation of my mental health issues. On top of it, I'm losing friends who think I'm a coward for not wanting to expose my mother to increased risk and who think I'm a bad nurse for wanting to quit.

Edited by StillSearchingRN

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pixierose has 3 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Neuro-ICU, psych, ED.

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Hugs. I feel you. Do the best you can to take care of yourself, and don’t compare yourself to others - there is no right or wrong way to get through this.

To put it bluntly, this sucks so much.

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I felt similar working on the oncology floor, but yes I agree, this is different and again what about the healthcare workers mental health?

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3 hours ago, Workitinurfava said:

I felt similar working on the oncology floor, but yes I agree, this is different and again what about the healthcare workers mental health?

If you work for my company, they don't give **mn. Even with physical and mental health contraindications (this has exacerbated my mental health conditions to the point where I've almost ended up hospitalized) for both myself and a relative I care for, I've been given the option to, essentially, "suck it up" or be fired.

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ML1376 has 3 years experience and specializes in ICU.

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On 4/1/2020 at 2:22 PM, StillSearchingRN said:

On top of it, I'm losing friends who think I'm a coward for not wanting to expose my mother to increased risk and who think I'm a bad nurse for wanting to quit.

Losing "friends" because of it? I question that title, no offense. Nursing friends/co-workers or ones who have no idea what it's like and are judging simply for the sake of it? Either way, If they won't or or for whatever reason cannot understand how out of control and dire this situation is and further, judge you on how you feel and think about it regarding wanting to protect your health, and the life of your immunocompromised mother, I question them as friends at all. We all have "friends" like that at some point. Not telling you what to do, but it's worth questioning.. You are a human being and BY FAR not alone in thinking and feeling these things. Just look at the topics here and the hundreds of thousands of people viewing them, replying, creating new ones. It's so bad out there and dangerous and it all came about so quickly and intensely. You do what's best for you and your family, period and forget what those "friends" have to say on the matter.

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On 4/1/2020 at 1:22 PM, StillSearchingRN said:

You're not alone in severe stress and anxiety; I seriously don't know whether I'm going back to my job or even back to nursing at this point. I was hired for a non-acute position, wanted nothing to do with the higher-stress/higher-risk specialties, couldn't even qualify for them if I wanted to at this point with my lack of experience (was even shot down from attempting to apply)...but suddenly, just the fact that I'm a warm body and have a nursing license is enough to float me to the unit or the ER. It's hard to say whether "pissed off" or "scared you-know-what" is higher right now: I have no acute care background, got one 4-hour training session between the two intense/possibly-high-acuity specialties, and am now expected to float whenever they demand me to. I could clock in, thinking it's "business as usual" with my regular position and then be floated. I, too, live with my elderly mother (or, rather, because of debilitating health issues, she lives with me) who is immunocompromised. I just don't know what to do anymore. It's to the point where I'm becoming physically ill due to exacerbation of my mental health issues. On top of it, I'm losing friends who think I'm a coward for not wanting to expose my mother to increased risk and who think I'm a bad nurse for wanting to quit.

I would like to see this topic in its own forum. How many others are being asked to do this and what is the risk to their nursing licenses? Does the hospital release you from any liability if you aren't being properly trained/oriented and make a mistake?

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22 hours ago, 2BS Nurse said:

I would like to see this topic in its own forum. How many others are being asked to do this and what is the risk to their nursing licenses? Does the hospital release you from any liability if you aren't being properly trained/oriented and make a mistake?

I have been wondering about this too. I work in an outpatient clinic doing diabetes and hypertension education. The only experience I have in acute care is nursing school clinicals. My state is calling for nurses to register on a volunteer registry. I am young and healthy, and happy to do whatever front-line work needs doing. Obviously I couldn’t run a ventilator but I can be trained to do lesser acute-care things. However— if the situation gets really dire and it does come to them calling up nurses with no experience— will I get sued after the dust settles if I make an error? In the heat of the crisis, people are saying “We just need warm bodies with licenses!” but that attitude could change drastically once calm returns.

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RealNurseMom has 4 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Oncology/Critical Care.

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Feeling the same as you, here in nyc. This isn’t the typical ICU population, don’t be discouraged from doing critical care. Typically we don’t see so many patients requiring intubation, multiple pressors and proning, that walk in off the street without comorbidities and just crash fast. Stay strong and stay safe. We’ll make it through this but if your dream is critical care remember nothing about this pandemic is the usual.

Edited by RealNurseMom

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