How do health care workers get through their day when they know they can't help everybody?
I feel like this is going to be the toughest part of the job while working in healthcare. I want to know how health care workers cope with the stresses of losing patients. #medicine
You have asked a very good question. I heard this saying once and I repeat it now: 'Going into medicine and expecting not to grieve is like going into the ocean and expecting not to get wet.' Many things in healthcare can hurt besides losing a patient. Medicine is very data and task-intensive so there are many opportunities for mistakes. As a medical student and an anesthesiology resident, I was immature and had a lot of difficulty in very sad circumstances such as losing a patient who died on the operating table. What all of us who wish to help care for others need to do is develop internally personal values, maturity, and means of dealing with the wide range of emotions that are experienced in healthcare.
A cardiac surgeon advised that 'you have to be able to sleep with [actually after] your complications.' The more critical the situation, the greater the chance for a negative outcome. Now on top of that, add that you may feel you either committed an act of omission or commission which either failed to help the patient or actually worsened the patient's condition. The guilt and remorse don't last for just days or weeks. Usually, it can be felt for months or years. You have to develop a strong enough character to deal with those feelings. This is a challenge and we must develop these coping skills because someone must take care of these patients. It might as well be you. It is not easy. It is hard. By asking your question, you already wisely have sensed this and are on your way to begin to develop coping skills. Good luck!
Steven recommends the following next steps: