Saturday, March 23, 2013

when life ends

As a nurse, you don't think much about what you are witness to on regular basis.  Birth, death, changing events.

One of the things we see as nurses that most people don't, is death.  A lot of the time it isn't pretty.  A lot of the time its not like in the movies where someone just goes and its over quick. Sometimes it takes a while.  Sometimes a family sits waiting for death, watching their loved one gasp. Sometimes that goes on for a while.  Its difficult to witness.  To see you mother or father seem to struggle for breath for a while.

As a nurse, to be honest, you just want it to be over.  For them.  Those are the times you pray for the end to come.  So they won't have to remember an awful end.

Nurses stay with families as death nears.  Its part of what we do.  We don't want them to be alone. Its too hard for them to be alone. So we stand there while they talk about mom or dad or grandma. You learn a lot about the person at times like that.  

Its hard to watch people cry.  Its doesn't matter how old the person is, they are still mom or dad.


Ivan Ilyich said...

One night in an ICU with thin walls I was wondering why there was so much conversation so late at night. Then I realized the patient in the next room was dying. It changed my perspective. I wanted to get out of that unit as soon as possible. I can't imagine working in that situation on a regular basis.

ButtercupRN said...

That was such a difficult part of working in the ICU when it became apparent nothing was going to work.
It was even more difficult when the pt was a child. After I took care of a 2 week old who couldn't survive I couldn't take it anymore. She was my last patient there,I took a long LOA and did not work in any more trauma units.

RN to BSN Prof said...

I have been a nurse for 26 years, I now teach night classes at a local university. I always tell my students about my first death that I tended to. It totally changed my way of care to those that are about to pass.