As a nurse, we experience life touching moments with our patients. We rejoice together about new life, we too feel the pain of an unfortunate diagnosis, & we respect life that is lost. We are nurses, but we too are human.
I was practicing my senior practicum on an antepartum, labor & deliery, and postpartum floor. I got to the floor at 1830 and was faced with a sobbing nurse who I was to relieve. Her patient, a mother of 39-weeks had just delivered her stillborn baby. I started to feel nervous, anxious, depressed, & a million other emotions cycling within myself. The nurse had already gave the baby’s first bath & made footprints side-by-side with the baby’s big brother. My preceptor & I were responsible with contacting the morgue, putting together funeral home information for the family, coordinating follow-up appointments, & to comfort and respect the family’s time with their baby.
I came to help the mom get up out of the bed to go to the bathroom. As I was in the room, I saw a personalized baby blanket with their child’s name on it. It made my heart sink. As she was in the bathroom, I changed the linens on her bed where she spent hours in labor. I looked at dad, who was carrying their precious angel and asked if he needed anything. He said, “No.” As mom came back into bed, she asked if I could take a family picture of them. Without hesitation, I said, “Of course.” As I was taking their picture, I wanted to sob. I gave back their camera and asked if they needed anything else before I left. I saw all three of them cuddled on the bed, grieving over their little one.
I cried during my 0300 lunch. I also felt like throwing up because my body hated night shift. I went home around 0730 and sobbed in my car during my short drive home. I laid in bed by 0830, wide awake with thoughts racing through my head. I prayed for that family, for their little one, & I prayed to hopefully make it through another 12-hour shift by 1830.
As a nurse, we are on our feet for 10-12 hours. We are constantly walking, standing, and running. Not only that, but we are constantly thinking. We are utilizing critical thinking skills, actively planning our day hour-by-hour, and tending to the needs of our patients. By the time we get home, we are caring for our own loved ones at home…and all of this time, there is hardly time to take care of ourselves because we invest so much of ourselves for others. This year for Nurses Week, this year’s theme is “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.” To all the amazing nurses out there, THANK YOU!
Btw, get your free Cinnabon to treat yourself!!!