Losing a patient never gets easy and neither does delivering anything but compassionate care. I commend and thank our instructor for sharing the story about the death of her daughter today, as I am still shaken up.
I am proud that I have cried during rounds and have held patients and their loved ones while they (and I) cried. This week, we have talked about how little support loved ones receive following the inpatient death of a patient. Not to belittle this fact at all, but tonight, some of us talked about how little grievance support there is for medical staff.
I found out that one of my favorite patients died in November through snap chat, and I am beyond ashamed to admit this fact. His death was written on the white board of our work room – as if this announcement was comparable to our unit’s hand-washing statistics. A coworker happened to post a video taken in our workroom to her snap chat story and, in the background, was, “XYZ died on November X”, on the wall. As I reviewed my friends’ snap chat stories one morning in bed, I saw this and proceeded to cry.
I wrote this patient’s mother (tangible card) and she Facebook messaged me (we were not friends on the social media platform, but she found my profile) in return trying to express her gratitude. I found out about this patient’s death after his funeral. All I wanted to do was attend said funeral, hug his mother, and thank them for letting me into their lives in such a vulnerable time.
However, my employer has never reached out to us nurses following the death of a patient, at least on my unit. Today, I relived this death and it never gets easy to recall and reflect on.
After today’s class, I am hoping to look further into my institution’s grieving plan for employees. I do not want to lose this feeling following the death of another beloved patient, as it shapes me into the pediatric nurse I am today — but I do want to be able to follow-up appropriately with families and receive the counseling and closure that I probably need.