Nurses usually deal with death better then most lay people cause we see so much in our profession.....I remember one patient early 40's she was on a conference from out west..she got severe abd pain and when I assess her her blood pressure was 50/30 when listening to her abd I could hear the bleeding from what wasn't sure ...had two ivs wide open ..went to the er doc and he laughed at me and said you hear bowel sounds i said no went to head doc to get a ct belly he said not his patient and then I went to adm and nursing supervisor came down and got my ct order....in meanwhile i just knew she was going to die....she looked at me she said i can see how hard you are working but your eyes tell me i am going to die please call my hubby i want to talk to my 5yr old son and then call me a priest and then she said thanks debra you did all you could do for me which was enough...i got her all the requests never left her sIDE and she got to ct and went to surgery for aneurism and she died on the table....my way of coping was focus on her needs and helping her die peacefully and that happened 40 yrs ago never will forget her and i share her story alot to teach other nurses!!!!
It's given me great comfort in knowing that I made a difference in their lives and their families. I provide total patient care meaning not only their medical needs but emotional and mental as well for both the patient and their families. That has helped me in dealing with death. It is hard because we get close to them and their families but in the end that is what makes the difference for them and for me. I had one amazing experience in which a patient decided he was done and his family and friends were on board. For two days I watched him slowly regress until he passed but during those two days he had so many visitors and they all laughed and enjoyed their time together as they said their goodbyes and reminisced. He passed on his daughter's birthday. I spoke to her about how that made her feel and she said it's wonderful. She was so happy that her dad got to go home on her birthday. She felt it was a huge honor. Best wishes.
Such a great question . . . How do any of us deal with death . . . I have found that patients and families whom you may care for, are able to provide the answer to this question . . . often the dying inform the nurse on 'how to move on' . . . working as a nurse for over 40 years, I discovered myself, more about who I am with the dying. It's necessary to be open to vulnerability . . . letting yourself experience the life of that life, of the one letting go . . . I would also suggest self-care . . . nutrition, socially meaningful presence, music, art . . . meditation . . . and open conversation with someone special . . . someone that you can trust . . . the things that you learn about the dying and the way people die, will help you care for the 'next time' . . .
My tears fall with and for the family. They start out as my patients…..but become my friends ….
It's the mystery of life. There are many feelings surrounding the passing of a life. It can be sad; it can be a relief; it can be the end of suffering; it can be expected; it can be silent. Many people expect death with grace and welcoming. Others are fearful.
I find myself reacting based on my patient's condition, age, religious preferences, and personality. I have often held a patient's hand while s/he dies, especially if no family is present. Then, I may shed a tear or two and say a silent prayer.
I have difficulty with children passing, as the parents are so broken when this event happens. However, if I prepare the deceased for viewing by the family, I can manage my emotions and grief and move on to my next responsibility. It's my form of debriefing. I will speak with another nurse if s/he has difficulty handling emotions, giving them a few moments of privacy.
It was hard dealing with death in the beginning of my nursing career. I started out in Medical Surgical, ICU, ER, NICU then Administration. In each area of nursing I got to know my patients and families as well as I could to get them through whatever they were going through. When I moved up to hospital Administrative Manager on the off shifts I shared an idea to our CEO of creating a comfort room next to our morgue so families could say goodbye in private. And he agreed to whatever I wanted.
I was able to pick the wall colors, pictures, plants etc
We would ask the family members if they wanted any hair clippings and if they did we would place them in a silk bag. We also had the hospital Chaplin on duty be available to do prayer with the family if requested. It made things much easier for the families and staff.
I rely on my faith. I believe that everyone will be better and at peace on the other side. I try to relate that to their families and friends. Faith pulls me through.
As a hospice nurse of 24 years, I’ve seen my fair share of patients dying. I am constantly reminded that death is a natural part of life. Everyone will die at some point. If my patient is agonal, I sit there and hold their hand and talk to them. Being allowed to be present when someone takes their last breath is an honor. They allowed you to be present at that moment. They allowed you to be the one to comfort their loved ones. It’s a very special time.
I try to focus on letting the pt pass with as much dignity as possible when it’s within my control. And I focus on helping the family cope with letting go and letting go of any guilt they my be holding in making decisions to let go in those moments.
Feel, cry, it's ok.
With this, you need to communicate with him or her that he/she is dead and therefore you like to tie some parts of the body since the ears is the last body part to go off when one dies after that you keep the body in the right room for the morgue. Thank you.
this is a good question, and I am pleased to say that I am comfortable around it: whether it's a baby (I baptized a preemie with sterile water because she wasn't going to last until the parents arrived). I have done post mortem care on ER patients as well. The main thing is that I believe the last thing to go is a patient's hearing. I speak respectfully, tell them what I am going to do "Sir, I'm sorry. I have to cut off your shirt so I can wash you. I'll wrap you in a nice clean sheet so you will stay warm.." etc. This is a time of peace so I try and move slowly. Remember, the loved ones are waiting to see them so they need to be as clean as possible.
I ask the loved ones if they want me to stay or wait outside. If they want to pray, I tell them I will give them a few minutes. IF they are waiting in the waiting room , I ask if they want some coffee or tea, then I add cream and sugar.and tell them they will need a little energy . Be there, be aware, talk to the deceased in case they are scared and just listen to your surroundings.
I always remember how we were taught in school:
Nurses are to provide treatment and comfort as a patient returns to good health. But. we are also to provide care and comfort to ensure a peaceful death.
As hard ad that might sound, it always seemed to put death in perspective.
I usually try to keep my feelings in check, and do my best for the patient even after they have died. I will also say a prayer for them when I’m off shitft.
Thank you all for answering my question. Some incidents will remain a sweet memory, we should cling to that. New nurses need all the support during a situation like this. Especially when a patient has passed on without a warning.? MI. So let's be compassionate and sensitive.