"Nursing Today urges nurses to practice adaptive coping to deal with patient deaths instead of avoidance and emotional distance. Adaptive coping strategies help to reduce stress, rather than adding to it."
It is important that we as nurses learn to cope with a patient’s death. Death is known as the end of life and for this, it varies from person to person. Depending on culture and religion some individuals take death different. Many cultures also respond to death differently as they prepare for burial. Without bias, we as healthcare professionals are to remove our opinions and beliefs to respect the wishes of the patients’ families. Death happens every day in the hospital. Most of the times it is unplanned. Working as a nurse you will learn that this cannot be a preventive event in most cases. This is one main reason why it is vital to learn how to deal with death of your patients.
Talk to your team and REFLECT!
Reflection is always a good way to mirror what has happened and how some things could have gone better. Most facilities have debriefing after a CODE BLUE event. Based on my experience, this has helped to get everyone’s input on how they feel about the episode. Reflecting on a patient's length of stay with staff will allow you to be a better nurse and learn from your experiences. Reflecting with the family is also effective because it shows compassion, empathy and respect that you have for the deceased patient.
Know your purpose as a nurse!
As a nurse, we are to care for and treat disorders of patients from birth to death. Death may be unexpected, but it is not rare to happen. In the day to day life of a nurse, our biggest goal is to make sure that a patient is stable and additional illnesses are prevented. But we fail to realize that we are to care for the terminally ill and comfort them through their last days of life. Knowing your purpose will keep you motivated to continue on as a nurse and inspire you to care for your patients more.
You cannot pour from an empty cup!! Meaning you cannot take care of patients and others if you do not take care of yourself. Try not to take your work stress home with you after a death. We are all human and cry. It is ok to show emotions, especially if you have built rapport with your patient. This is the best time to take a personal day. Be supportive of yourself and do self care. Take a soak in the tub. Get a massage. PRAY! Meditate! Work out! Pamper yourself to help improve your mental!!
Thank you for tuning in to this week's blog! Look out for more content this week, including a YouTube video!!
~XOXO Nurse Bria