I must tell you dealing with death for doctors is as of an emotional experience as for a non-medical person. You do feel sad and helpless when someone is dying in front of you, sometimes in your arms, and you don't wanna see that happening. You can't let go of someone whom you have been taking care of to make him or her feel better and healthy. It haunts you sometimes as well. But at the same time you are strong and firm, and understand the reality of life that it was supposed to end despite all you could have done. Years of training and dealing with such emotional roller-coaster kind of situations, make you determined and stronger emotionally and professionally. You gotta stay strong to be fit and available for other patients waiting for you. You gotta have real sense of responsibility as well. It's all a game of ethics, principles and integrity. You might have a moment of weakness but then you pull yourself together and move on. Best is, you move on!
It is helpful to realize that everyone must die at some point. Everyone that comes into this life dies. We do not know who will die or when. Although I work for Hospice and see death on a daily basis I could get hit by a bus on my way to work and die. I have seen Hospice patients live much longer than expected and get off Hospice.
I have a strong faith and feel that the dying person is going to a better place. The Hospice nurse's goal is to help the person have a "good death" that is peaceful pain free transition from this life. Hospice is for the living and helps the family and friends transition to life without their loved ones. Hospice nursing is one of the the noblest and most rewarding areas in nursing. I feel like I really helped someone when they have a peaceful passing. I carry my Hospice training in every area of nursing I practice and feel strongly that all medical workers should have a substantial Hospice experience.
When I began my career in the medical field I had a seniored colleague tell me the following, "It is important to remember that we do not kill people. Their illnesses or injuries do."
This has been something I have carried with me over the past several years and honestly have had to say aloud a few times as a reminder. I truly believe it is a matter of mindset and finding a way to carry with you the positive impact you have made for that individual or their family. How did you help comfort them through that time? What support did you provide?
You will find that as difficult as these situations can be, they can be as equally rewarding knowing that for a patient or family member you have made a difference, no matter how small.