I wasn't going to post this, but what the hell. Maybe it will help
When a young colleague dies for no apparent reason in your own ER it just makes no sense. Everyone is a mess. One nurse can't stop thinking about it, and talks incessantly about how awful it is; but we're all thinking the same thing. When things get quiet and we're alone with our thoughts, one of us will start in. "I just can't believe it", someone will say, or "You know, she...", and share some awful aspect of the whole scenario.
I know. I just can't talk about it anymore
Each time you run into someone new, it's like ripping open a wound. The details are hashed over and over. The circumstances of her death. The funeral. How awful it is that a great nurse and mother of two is gone with barely a life lived; so much that she wanted to do with her life that will now never happen.
This is a religious hospital which has done.........nothing for it's guilt-ridden grieving employees.
Yet, life must go on, doesn't it, no matter how difficult it seems. Those girls who had to perform CPR and post-mortem care on a friend, how do you think they are functioning Mr. Hospital Administrator? They had to get up the next day and go to work just like every day after cleaning her blood off a back board, bagging her cut-off clothes and stuffing 3 miles of EKG rhythm strips into a trash bag. Yet, it was a weekend and we did not have the opportunity to have a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) from individuals who are trained to help workers deal with the aftermath of a traumatic event. We weren't offered a hospital chaplain or even a social worker. What did the hospital do for us?
Nurses, xray and lab techs from downtown volunteered to work so that all who wished could attend the funeral. One of our nurses sang a song, a beautiful tribute. EMS sent out a "last call" over the radio, honoring her 14 years of service to the local ambulance service; they had the chilling duty to respond to her house for a cardiac arrest. As he left the cemetery, her 3 year old broke my heart as he waved goodbye to his mother's casket.
Nearly two weeks.....two weeks... later we are offered a debriefing or sorts; it is too little too late in my opinion. Please spare me the religiosity; 31 year old healthy females don't belong "in Jesus' arms, resting and relaxing" when they have young children and a whole life ahead of them.
You bet I'm angry. My attitude sucks and I have referred to so many of the dental paineurs and narcotic seekers as douche bags that my co-workers are getting tired of it. Rightfully so.
The hospital clearly doesn't give a fat rat's ass about us or our loss; if or how we deal with it. We are outof sight and out of mind. Our co-worker is buried in the cemetery next to our facility that most of us drive by each and every day. She will be there forever, and we are constantly reminded of that fact.
As nurses we are used to dealing with grieving families, but are at a loss to come to grips with this tragedy. Time will heal of course, and we soldier on for now. We will help each other through this crisis because apparently all we have is each other.