A New Patient

I have a new patient in my unit. It is a 19 year old that lost both is legs and one hand in an auto accident.

He is in some pain and rings the call button a lot. Any other patient that did that I would get peeved but with him I can't get mad. He is pretty well sedated but still lucid enough to talk sometimes. I'm afraid that I'm not helping him because I'm near tears when I approach him. There have been other times when I've felt I'm too emotional for this job and this is one of them. I want to comfort him but I don't know what to say that would help. He has had only one visitor since he came here and she has never came back.

My boyfriend is a male nurse and works in the same unit as me. He wants me to turn this mans care over to him. He says I'm becoming too emotionally involved to do my job properly. I don't want too because maybe there is still something I can do for him that nobody else can. I like to sit with him in my spare time and hold his hand. In a few days it won't matter, they will transfer him to a rehab unit and I'll probably never see him again, except in my memories.
Andrea619 Andrea619
26-30, F
7 Responses Jul 13, 2010

Being a nurse isn't always easy. Sometimes it is hard not to become emotionally involved. Whatever you decide to do just remember if you loose you compassion and heart it is time to leave nursing. I am a registered nurse and there have been times where patients have telly touched me. Look after yourself and recognise when you need to protect yourself, you are no good to yourself of your patients if you are compromised.

It sounds like you may be developing boundary issues with this young man. It's not your job to be his primary emotional support, as much as I respect your impulse to do that job. I think your bf is right - you may be losing your ob<x>jectivity here. It's not a big deal in this particular case - he's going to go to rehab, and that will be that. But I worry for your future in your career if you keep allowing yourself to get emotionally attached to people, because it will eventually erode your emotional wellbeing to the point where you won't be able to continue. Clinical ob<x>jectivity is important for our own mental health.

Your story brought tears to my eyes. Nurses like you make life worth living for this young man.

i know what you mean. i know it's kind of different, but i have a friend who isn't the most social person and even though he can get pretty stuck up with his pride, i don't want to leave him alone even though everyone tells me to do so.

You will become a Saint in your next life ...... May all goodness and happiness surround you and come your way forever .....you and all other nurses are my Heros .

I admire anyone who is a nurse, because I know that sometimes it is a stressful and thankless job, but there are always patients who remind you why you become a nurse, and perhaps this young man is one of them. <br />
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I think by just acknowledging he is a person, and not pitying him will make a big difference, and he will remember this time in hospital for a long time, he will remember how you took care of him, and sat and held his hand to give him comfort when he most needed it. It's the little things like that, that patients remember.<br />
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The fact that you get emotional, to me shows how good a nurse you are, and how you have not detached yourself completely, and I think makes you a better nurse for it. When you are in pain and your whole life has been changed the way this young man's has, it would do him no good to have someone who was detached, because it can come across as unsympathetic and uncaring.<br />
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I know when I was seriously ill in hospital, I appreciated my nurses because they sat with me, and held my hand, as well as being there when I was in tears. I got a lot of comfort from them and have never forgotten it.

I don't see how you nurses do it. All the time seeing sick people some of them even dying. It must depress you terribly. <br />
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I watched the TV show Nurse Jackie a few times. She copes by taking drugs, do real nurses do that or is it just for TV?

srry to say some in the medical profession do.. a doctor in my town was stuck off for taking heavy drugs.. :-(