WATCH: Nurses Grieve, Too

We nurses know very well the way we are most often erroneously portrayed in the media. Part of our job that is never portrayed and hardly understood by the public is how much our jobs impact us emotionally.

No matter how professional I am at my job, I carry home the rough circumstances, such as death of a patient or their baby.  Often the tears come long after something tragic has happened in my job. It is important for nurses to understand the way that death and tragedy affects us and make sure we get the help and support we need. It is vital that lay people understand that nurses grieve–yes, differently than the patient, but it is grief none the less. Many times we rely on the people in our lives to pick up the pieces!

I found a wonderful video about the grief we OB nurses feel and how we cope with that grief. I wanted to share it in the hope it helps someone else out there:

Nurses Grieve Too: Insights into Experiences with Perinatal Loss from York University Libraries on Vimeo.

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Amy Bozeman

Amy is many things: a blogger, a nurse, a wife, a mom, a childbirth educator. She started her journey towards a career in nursing when she got pregnant with her first child. After nursing school and studying "like she has never studied before" she entered the nursing profession eager to get her feet wet. The first years provided her with much exposure to sadness, joy and other complex human emotions. She feels that blogging is a wonderful outlet and a way for nurse bloggers to further build their community. Traditionally, midwives have handed down their skill set from midwife to apprentice midwife. She believes nurses have this same opportunity: to pass from nurse to new nurse the rich traditions of this profession.

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2 Responses to WATCH: Nurses Grieve, Too

  1. terrimtz1 RN

    One of the most profound things that happened to me in my nursing career…as a ER/trauma nurse in the only level 1 trauma center in my state, I was assigned as the trauma 1 nurse –meaning I would take any and all traumas coming in the door unless we were in the middle of one and another came in the door, then trauma 2 team kicked in. I was working my assigned ER section, and had a man come to the nurses station and ask if his grandma could have ice chips (she was ultimately diagnosed with being constipated), I said I would ask the doc and just then we heard the overhead page “trauma team to the trauma room”. This was a hard one…a 19 year old male was a passenger that was t-boned on the passenger side of the car that his fiance was driving with a 3-foot intrusion. The kid basically has his aorta ripped off the top of his heart, bled out into his chest cavity and was dead on arrival to our ER. This was the first time that I had to go with a MD to tell a family that their son was dead – it was two weeks before Christmas. The screams of anguish that I heard at that time is something that I can never forget. Over the entire 40 minutes of the event, it was all I could do to hold it together. Once I thought I had, I walked back out into the nurse’s station of the ER only to be met by the guy asking for ice chips for his mother beforehand…who very angrily called me every name in the book because his grandmother had not waited 40 minutes for ice chips. The one thought that went through my mind was…s***w you and s***your grandmother!!!! However, I did the perpetual nursey thing, turned around to the ice/water machine, and handed the guy a cup of ice chips.

  2. maywinters

    As a CNA I have also dealt with my fair share of deaths among patients adults and children, but never babies…but I can imagine and empathize….but I can also remember each patient that has died on my watch and each of the family members…I think that the worst one that I will never forget was one that I wasnt there for but I had taken care of that child many times and he was just the happiest child in the world even though he was being poked and proded every day that he was being taken care of (at home and at the hospital)…and he had a special bond with each and every person that he came in contact with…and right after he died some of the nursing staff on that floor quit working there bc of that….ill never forget another time when we had a “rapid response” for another patient that I was helping take care of and I knew the mom pretty well and I just took mom outside the room with me and I told her that her daughter was getting the absolute best care right now and I gave mom a hug and she just cried and so did i and she hugged me the entire time that was going on and cried with me…and right after I helped the nurse and mom move the patient to the PICU mom gave me a huge hug and thanked me for just being there for her in their time of need…ill never forget that…i even remember moms name and what room they were in….