September 14, 2013 at 12:59 AM #9237
I am a new graduate that just started working as a nurse about 2 months ago. I work in a facility that has long term care, psychiatric care and acute care (almost like at step down from ICU) We have ventilator patients, patients on dialysis, everything and ICU would have. My question is, I have witnessed 3 deaths in the short time I have been there, and every time I cry. One instance happened to be while I was training. The nurse training me asked me what I was crying for, and said I had better toughen up my skin. Is it really that un natural to cry, or is this particular nurse just hardened? My heart broke for the patient and their families, and for myself because I have grown to love these people, as have they grown to love me. Thank you for all your input!!!September 14, 2013 at 3:07 AM #9243
Most young nurses and new nurses have issues with death. It does get easier, and that nurse sounds very cold. What made a difference for me was seeing people suffer before death. We can only do what is within our orders, and I try very hard to keep people comfortable, but some ways to die are much worse than others. I have reached the point that I know death is not the worst thing that can happen to someone. Sometimes the end to suffering is actually a blessing for them and those who see them suffer. We only have so much control over our emotional responses. Our personal experiences also play a role in those responses. Supportive coworkers will help u work through the situation. Some people simply are not made for hospice and long term care where this is a frequent issue. Only you know if things are becoming better for u. I wish u the best, and dont be afraid to discuss this issue with your supervisors, friends who are nurses, pastors, etc… many people are afraid of death as well, and that can also play into it. Do whatever u have to to help yourself become more comfortable. Crying proves your human, but it really can get better.September 18, 2013 at 9:06 PM #9393
I don’t think there is anything wrong with you crying over losing a patient you care for or for their families who loved them as well. We are nurses and we are also human. The nurse who told you that probably felt awkward or maybe she is hardened for we all deal with things like death differently. I wouldn’t be concerned about crying over a lost patient unless losing these patients causes you to become depressed or unable to perform your duties as a nurse. Death is sad sometimes and something we all deal with eventually as nurses or just human beings.September 20, 2013 at 2:28 PM #9442
I’ve been a nurse for seventeen years. The first 16 of those years was in labor and delivery. I recently started working in a ltc setting. I had my first death about a month after starting. I cried like a baby. I felt bad about my reaction, but since then I have decided that caring for your patients is what drives us to become nurses to begin with. I agree that if it inhibits your personal wellbeing, maybe another area would be better. Otherwise, don’t ever let anyone negate your very real feelings and emotions!!
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