Hello, all! I’ve been a bit absent from my blog due to homework.
In the past few weeks, I’ve experienced a few deaths at work. Surprise, right? Especially, since I’m an emergency nurse? Strangely enough, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to experience the death of my own patient. About a year, actually. I’d like to think it was my own nursing super-powers that kept them going, but it’s really the luck of the draw & I guess my luck had run out. I’ve had several patients with CPR in progress over the last year, but this patient has been the first one (this year) that I’ve developed a relationship with before they passed. This may be a generalization for all nurses, but to me– death is quite a bit different when it’s your own patient. You’re clouded with unnecessary guilt. What could I have done differently? What did the patient think of me? Did I do something wrong? Did I miss something? And then those feelings lead to… oh my gosh, what if they take my license away? Even when you’ve done nothing wrong. Often, things are so far out of your control. You can do EVERYTHING possible, and it won’t be enough. In fact, I noticed the warning signs immediately prior to calling a code and had a moment to speak with the patient before it all happened. That’s pretty heartbreaking. Kind of like… you let them down because they trusted you to save them. Yet, you can’t save everyone.
For me, I carry those deaths with me. When my patient passed, I drove 10 minutes past my exit when driving home thinking about him. That being said, it doesn’t debilitate me indefinitely. I still want to be a nurse throughout it all. I can still go to work the next day, I can still handle another passing. I do wonder, how does death affect nurses across their careers? I’m a nurse of nearly four collective years: I’m not a veteran, but I’m not a baby either. I’ve seen nurses barely a year old become desensitized; I’ve seen veterans cry. It’s a weird feeling when your patient passes, yet the world keeps turning, and my other patients are already on their call lights. You would think that the world would take a moment and stop turning just for a minute to reflect. Yet, as I’m cleaning the room, preparing for family members, I hear “Shannon, you have a new patient in room XX.” Maybe that’s how emergency nurses cope, they know that no matter what… your rooms are still getting filled with responsibilities and expectations of others. Maybe, they don’t give time to cope. I wonder how healthy that is: To move on within a few minutes because you don’t have a choice. You’ve got others counting on you. How long can you hold on to all of those deaths before you crack?
This isn’t to say I don’t cope with death. I go home and give my patients a reflection and prayer. That’s may way of moving on. My concern is, those who don’t take a moment because it might hurt a bit to reflect, how do THEY cope? That certainly isn’t a healthy coping mechanism: to make yourself busy and forget. Then there are those who let it cut them too deep.
To those of y’all out there: How have you coped throughout your career? Has it changed? Why?
**As a side note, the cartoon is a just to lighten the mood. Not to be disrespectful.
In other news:
My genius idea of taking pharmacology on top of pathophysiology isn’t quite as genius anymore. Nevertheless, because of that decision, I will be starting clinicals this September (unless there aren’t enough students to enroll). Since the traffic has started to pick up quite a bit on this blog, I’m hoping that some of you guys will be willing to share your tips for a nurse practitioner student in their first round of clinical rotations. Also, my car that the insurance company refused to total… it’s been in the shop for going on… 4 weeks? Eek.
My sister who has been trying to get pregnant for years is having her baby shower this month! She’s been through tons of fertility treatments and miscarriages, including some precious twins (that I say were girls). This is a very exciting time!!
I’ll be going to Denver, CO at the end of the month for some much needed R&R and then to Maine a week later for my health assessment course. I don’t remember what it was like to have free time and a moment of NOTHING to do!!
A bit of housekeeping:
- Thank you all for visiting! Like I mentioned, there are lots of new visitors each day. This is very exciting because I’m hoping that you guys will reply with your own experiences. They’re greatly appreciated.
- In a creepy way, this blog allows me to see some of the search terms that bring people to my website. I have a sneaking suspicion that many of you may actually be from my program! I love it. Infact, I know this to be true, because I’ve picked up a WONDERFUL, intelligent new friend that shares some of my courses at SJCME. You have no idea what a difference it can make to a distance nurse practitioner student to have other students to talk with. I nearly had a panic attack when I was trying to diagnose a case study… & one conversation later, I realized that I was second guessing myself && realized it’s okay to breath. Please reply with your contact information (email) & I would love to get in touch with you guys and bounce ideas off of each other.
- If there’s something you want to talk about, blogs you’d like to suggest, etc. please let me know.
- Feel free to suggest supplemental books, apps, etc. that were/are helpful to you in FNP school.