Someone posed a question to a group I belong to and I found it to be so true today. When will it stop being so hard to lose a patient? Do nurses ever get used to this? No, because we care.

Often we don’t have much of a chance to get close or form a relationship, but it still hurts. Then there are those that instantly find their way into our hearts. Perhaps they remind us of someone, or just maybe they make a footprint on our hearts that’s going to stay there forever.

Because we care

My answer to this is always that we hurt because we care. And it always reminds me why I am a nurse. We chose this profession in order to help people, and people need the most help when they lose a friend or a loved one. We don’t always have the opportunity to cry or to grieve at that moment, but we find our way when we can.

In these terrible times with the pandemic, we all have an even harder time. Sometimes we’re the only ones in the room. And we’re dealing with loved ones over a tablet or phone. Thank goodness for this hi-tech option, but the high-touch option is so sorely missed. Hugs and kisses and just a giant squeeze.

No it’s not going to ever get better. You might get better at holding in your emotions for the moment, so that you’re not the focus of attention, but it never gets easier. And it shouldn’t — because we care.

If you need help

It can become overwhelming, especially during a pandemic. Nurses can and should seek help if the sadness or depression is affecting their lives. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Health has a 24 hour helpline: 800-950-6264. Please make the call or recommend to a friend who’s suffering. We’re all in this together!

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