Nursing Heart

Sometimes, as a nurse, you meet that one long term patient that just touches your heart. That one patient that brings a smile to your face every time you see them. You get to know their spouse, their kids, their pets, their habits, hobbies, likes and dislikes. You try to remain professional. You try to see them as your “patient” and not your “friend”. You try to keep that emotional distance. Sometimes, though, that one patient gets through all of that and you just learn to care for them. You see them sick and want nothing more than to “fix” them.
Then the diagnoses come. One thing on top of another. Each diagnosis a little worse than the last. You know the truth. You know what’s happening. They’re dying. You couldn’t work your magic. You couldn’t make it better. So you try and prepare yourself for the inevitable. You tell yourself “it’s for the best”. You try and pull your emotions out of it. You try and keep it together. You tell yourself you will handle it just fine. You’re a professional. You’re a nurse. You see death and dying everyday. Patients die all the time, right?
But this time it’s not just a patient, it’s a friend. You still hold out hope. You keep thinking “isn’t there something we can do?” There isn’t. This is the end and you’re just not ready. And that’s what unsettles you. This isn’t your family. You didn’t know this patient before they came to your unit. Why are you so attached? Why does this particular person mean so much? It’s because they *are* a person. At that moment you learned what compassion really means. All those text books, all those chapters that mentioned “compassion”… Now it all makes sense. Your patients are people, real people with real lives. They have careers, families, friends, LIVES. So you accept that it hurts. You accept that the loss of life affects you. You accept that no matter how hard you try, there will be patients that get to your heart. You accept that you are human. And you let yourself grieve…

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3 thoughts on “Nursing Heart

  1. And what’s crazy is when I went back to the hospital & started transporting, I went through that exact same thing. Compassion. Something I am afraid I may not see when I come back

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