Any other healthcare professionals out there? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Any other healthcare professionals out there?

I am a CNA. a nurses aide who works for a Hospice company. For anyone who doesnt know what hospice is, its a medical service provided to anyone with a diagnosis that gives them 6 months or less to live.
I worked at an assisted living facility for 8 years before this. I started in high school. I have seen my share of deaths, and I was fascinated by how helpful and informational hospice companies were. When I first experienced someone dying I was all sorts of shaken up. I bawled, I was shaking, my adrenaline was surging. Its just not something you experience often. And of high school age, it really tore me up.
As time passed, death became less scary. I started to know the signs, smells, patterns of a person getting closer to death. And I slowly became comfortable enough with it to stay calm and collected. Ive been there with multiple people during their death, some surrounded by families. Some with noone but me holding their hand. Some who were Christians, some who were scared, some who were at peace.
I decided I wanted to work for hopsice because I became comfortable enough with death that I felt I could be a comfort to dying patients and families. I love my job, its emotionally draining, but so rewarding.
I jusy wonder if any other health care professionals who see death on an almost daily basis feel like they have become numb to it? I hear death notices of patients everyday. I lose about a patient a month. Some Ive become really connected to and I cant help but cry,... some I barely knew and I feel like it barely affected me.
I feel like Ive become numb sometimes. And I dont like it.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:31 PM
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First of all I could never do your job and its a good thing that there are people out there that do. My mom was in hospice before she passed away. I have to say they were a big help afterwards. I wasn't to fond of them during the process. I felt that they were to comfortable with death and thought that since they accepted it, we should do. They were very matter of a fact about everything and what seemed like emergency situations to us, they brushed off...probably because they have seen the same thing a million times. I think they lose touch with all emotion and that rubbed me the wrong way...this was my mom and my emotions were everywhere. I don't blame them for being the way they were and I understand it more now, but that didn't help me then. So, I don't think that you are abnormal or anything, I think its a pretty standard feeling. How else can one deal with death daily, unless they disconnect?

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:36 PM
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I'm... not in the healthcare field. But I just wanted to thank you for what you do! The hospice nurses and aides were incredible when my husband's mother (and also when his grandmother) passed. You all are very special people.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:49 PM
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I feel like Ive become numb sometimes. And I dont like it.
Don't you have counselors to talk with about your feelings?
I've been a CNA, EMT and my husband is a paramedic.
Although they see death a lot, there's counselors on hand when a major incident happens that's particularly tragic.
Also he has 2 free counseling sessions a year I believe, should he feel he needs them.

To an extent you must maintain a distance, and "black humor" helps at times too.
As a rescuer and aco/euth. tech I know about that as it relates to dogs.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 08:51 PM
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I am an EMT.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 09:00 PM
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I feel like Ive become numb sometimes. And I dont like it.
I think you have to be the way you are describing...or you'll crack.
A friend's husband passed this past April from cancer and she kept him home with the help of Hospice. The one(s) assigned to her was a great support, gave her options as her husbands life became more unbearable. They helped her with many things beyond the health side...dealing with the trusts/wills/and the funeral arrangements(her husband was involved with it as well)
The only thing I've heard is that some of the caregivers who knew the family quite well after working with them during the difficult 'end of life' stage, never sent a condolence card. I didn't know that that card of sympathy would be so important, but it must be.

I would hope that you can do a sabbatical or refreshment of your soul/spirit time off because it would be very difficult to continue the line of work you do without one. Thank you for what you must be very difficult indeed.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 09:14 PM
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Running on 4 hours of sleep and need to go to bed, so I didn't catch your question.
At the firehouse we dealt with it by making lots of jokes, after the fact and in between calls. And the camaraderie helped, too. Everyone had your back, and you had theirs.
I couldn't do hospice, because the outcome is always the same, and it is a slow, agonizing and depressing process.
Being an EMT, you never knew what you were going to get, and every day was different. Plus, you disconnected from the ones who were lost, and focused all you had on the ones you could save. And when you helped do that, it was most satisfying.
The hardest cases to deal with mentally were the kids. I remember being a rookie and having to do ER rounds. I had to hold down a 4 year old who was screaming his head off as the doctor stitched up a cut he had gotten banging into the coffee table.
I did great, until it was over, and then promptly went to the other room and almost passed out.
I got laughed at and they gave me orange juice

Last edited by Sunflowers; 12-13-2012 at 09:17 PM.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 09:58 PM
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I'm studying to be a cath lab tech. I start my clinical rotations in January and have had some observations at area hospitals and have witnessed patients coding and death as a result.
For those who don't know what the cath lab is, we use catheters to shoot dye into the arteries to check for blockages and if patents need stents, bypass, pacemakers, etc
It was kind of wierd the first time seeing it. To see the patients heart rate dwindle and the. To see CPR done and intubation and the. For them to call it. But I believe there is a better place after life.
In the cah lab everyday is different
Sometimes you will see people you know aren't going to make it and some that are in for routine procedure that goes wrong.
I didn't cry but I reflected a ton that day and I'm sure I will continue to do so when this happens again.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 10:04 PM
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I have worked in the X-ray and lab for several years. In the lab we drew blood on a lot of chemo patients that some you were closer to than others. There were some who treatment didn't work, and they would always just like to talk about everyday things, how's your dogs,etc. the families seemed more intent on continually seeking the cure, than the patient sometimes. Hospice works on quality of life also correct? I think you are a very caring person just to ask about if feeling numb is normal. Sounds like you care about the services you give your patients, something that can be lacking in a lot of places.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-14-2012, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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I guess when I say numb I don't mean that I fully disconnect. It sounds like a lot of you understand what im talking about... when I say numb I mean not losing it in the presence of death. I feel like the appropriate response to death is great, great sorrow, sobbing, etc. To me, it still feels like an emergency type situation. I try very hard to connect to my patients and families and I try so hard to avoid saying things like "I know" and "I understand". Because I couldn't possibly understand or know what its like to be dying or to be losing someone you care so deeply for. I try so hard to let them see and feel my compassion. Everytime one of my patients dies, I feel like I should be crying, that I should feel great sorrow. A human life was lost, whether it was expected or not...whether it was an elderly patient who has lived a full life.
Obviously I can't let myself feel that everytime a patient dies or I wouldn't be a very stable person. I know I have to disconnect somewhat, so I do. So that I can be a professional and do my job. I just see so many nurses who walk in, treat the symptoms of a dying patient like its no big deal and move on. And I hope noone ever thinks I am that way.
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