Hui-Wen (Alina) Sato, MSN, MPH, RN, CCRN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse in Southern California and blogs at http://heartofnursing.blog. A direct link to her recent TEDx Pasadena Women 2017 talk should soon be available online.
I have had a couple of recent conversations with nurse coworkers who have been close witnesses to patient deaths that were particularly difficult. They told me how challenging it was to process the experiences with fellow nurses—even those whom they considered as good friends—in the hours and days immediately following the patient deaths.
Some conversations in the break room or in carpool rides would go into the medical details surrounding the deaths, but stayed away from discussing personal emotions beyond general statements such as “It was just really sad.”
Other conversations, they told me, were comprised of awkward silence—as opposed to a more intentional therapeutic silence, a deep listening. In both scenarios, my coworkers said they’d felt a lack of quality and depth in these encounters. While they hoped for an opportunity to talk with colleagues, who would surely understand the experience and details better than anyone else, ultimately they felt that they were left to sort out their thoughts and feelings alone.
Even in a unit where we constantly express gratitude for a strong sense of teamwork, my colleagues and […]