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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Character of a Nurse: My First Patient Death


I lost my first patient this week. It's something we don't talk about in school.

Death.

I won't go into details. Not now. I'm tired. I need sleep. In the future I'll be sure to post about this experience. I think it's important to talk about death.

Thankfully the family was great. As great as one could be given the circumstances. We exchanged hugs. We cried. We even laughed, oddly enough.

I'm often at a loss of words during these events. I never know what to say to someone at a funeral. I certainly don't know how to comfort a family I just met. The patient and the family should always be the center of our focus as nurses. Nothing else matters, really. Just the patient and their family.

Luckily, I was blessed with a great priest that has had many experiences in helping family's grieve. It doesn't hurt that he has the same voice as Paul Harvey. Very calm and soothing. Don't be shy to contact your hospital's clergymen to help.
"No one should ever be put into this position. No one should ever have to choose when someone shall depart this earth. You'll question yourself and this decision, no doubt about that. But you are making the right decision. You'll laugh, and you'll cry along this journey through your grief. You're allowing him to pass on to the next world in peace. There's nothing to regret in that." - Father X.
That may come in use to some of you, and some it may not. It's not 100% therapeutic communication like we're taught in school. Ethically, we shouldn't say, "You're making the right decision," because we shouldn't impose our personal beliefs. But we're human. To be a nurse you have to be human. You have to be raw.

Xoxo,

Nightingale

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