Coping With Death in the Workplace:
“Grief is the price we pay for love” - Queen Elizabeth II. This quote is something that resonates with me. As nurses, we care so strongly about our patients, we may care for these individuals for minutes to months, yet we create a bond unlike any other in these periods of time. Often our patients' passing will be peaceful and surrounded by family, and other times it is traumatic and lonely. We may wonder, did we do everything we could? If I were a better nurse would they have pulled through? Did I miss something that could have been a warning sign? What if we intubated them even a minute fast? All of these what if’s can leave us distressed after a patient's passing, and can become something we bring home with us.
I’ve caught myself thinking about patients' deaths for days and weeks after they’ve happened wondering all of those same questions. I’ve cried in the bathroom after codes, and driven home in silence after shifts with a heavy heart. But all of these hard feelings remind me that I am human, and nursing does not have to make me cold to death and sadness.
I realized that I didn't have a handle on things I needed for my mental health. I was depressed, full of anxiety every day.