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    Emotional Trauma - Coping Up With Loss As A Nurse

    Emotional Trauma - Coping Up With Loss As A Nurse

    Death or loss of life is one of the bitter realities of life and everyone has to deal with the grief. As a nurse, you have to deal with such news more than others. While you are in nursing school, you are taught about death and how to reach on it. In clinical settings, the situation just gets real.

    In all nursing specialties, you will have to face death, and a substantial part of your grooming as a nurse is learning about how to cope up with that loss. Regardless of knowing them for 15 minutes of 10 long years, when a patient passes away, it will be painful and hard. However, you need to consider it a part of your job as a nurse.

    With the passage of time and the number of years of experience, you will be in a better position to deal with your emotions and grief, but when you are in the professional setting, below are some advices that will keep you going.

    It's Part of Your Job:

    Empathizing with your patients is an important tool for becoming a successful nurse, but this can ultimately make loss management more difficult. When a patient passes away, you feel grief, the pain is more if you knew them for a long time or they reminded you of a parent, friend or loved one. Being empathetic makes the death more personal, but you need to realize that it is your work, not your life. As much as you were close to the patient who died offering them the best care, but it is your job to do that. The grief that hits is a symbol that you've done your job right.

    There Is Nothing Wrong In Feeling

    Some nurses try to bring rationale to cope up with the sadness surrounding the patient's death. They suppress any feelings in this process. Most experienced nurses believe that hiding grief is a rather unrealistic goal. Psychologically, it can be extremely dangerous to hold onto the pain subconsciously. While you have to be composed and professional when you hear about a patient dying, and if such a thing happens during your shift, you should continue to serve other patients efficiently, but feeling sad, angry, confused or disappointed is normal.

    Death is a difficult thing, perhaps one of the most difficult part of our life, but whatever you are feeling is normal until and unless it starts affecting your work.

    Share Your Feelings

    One of the biggest support system of a nurse is another nurse. Since loss and death is one of the most prevalent things in the healthcare field, you are surrounded by colleagues and coworkers who have dealt with such challenges at multiple instances. What you are feeling, they have felt the same, and thereby sharing your feelings with an empathetic nurse can help you.

    Your peers can share similar cases or give unprecedented advice that will help you cope up or share rituals that helped the overcome the grief. Moreover, they can share how you can approach the family members of the people who have just lost their loved one.

    It's A Norm of the Society

    You will start thinking about all the moments you spent with a patient once he or she passes away. As a nurse, it is normal to wonder what you could potentially do differently to save the precious life. You will probably feel guilty for any instance where you were distracted, lost your temper or got rude.

    It is imminent to note that you or any other nurse is not perfect and death is not in your hands, its destiny. There may be things that will help you in becoming a better nurse, but putting the blame on yourself is not the right way to cope up with the loss.

    You Are a Caregiver; You Make a Difference

    A death is not your failure as a nurse, and it does not signal that it's the end of patient's care. As a nurse, it is your duty to serve not juts patients but their families as well. You will find solitude when you care for those who have lost a loved one.

    It needs to be noted that whatever you feel after the death of a patient, their loved ones will feel more. Nurses are generally the first people they encounter after the demise. Thus, the way you talk to them, comfort them and extend care can make all the difference. You as a nurse can become their shoulder to cry on making a major difference in their tough times.


    As a nurse, your job is tough. It comes with a fair share of ups and downs, and emotional setbacks. It is your duty to stay headstrong and deal with pain with courage and valor. You are a warrior!