September 30 2019
Written By
Barbara Karnes
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Is Dying Defeat? A hospice perspective...

Is Dying Defeat? A hospice perspective...


Barbara - October 05 2019

Hi Kris, I am so glad you have written your comment. If working for hospice teaches one thing it is life is short. It is over before we want it to be —— so while we are here and able to have some control over ourselves we need to be doing what makes us feel good. Your job is not making you feel good or is even good for your body and mind. It is time to get a different job. One that you are excited to get out of bed for. Everyone has their “specialness”. I couldn’t be a veterinarian but I am so glad there are those that find that work rewarding. I found my “specialness”. Kris, go find yours. Find what makes your heart sing each day. My blessings are with you. Barbara

Julia Seibert - October 05 2019

Nancy DeYoung,
“helping them pack their bags for the next destination with clarity and positive care” – I love this so much. I am an oncology nurse as well, working with brain tumor patients. I agree that the information provided in these posts are so valuable.


Kris - October 05 2019

I have been doing hospice Nursing for 2 years and have slowly gotten more and more stressed to the point I have daily headaches. I don’t know how to grieve and heal from so many deaths. I have also seen so many coworkers leave and that is sometimes worse. I don’t know If I can continue and not spread the stress to the rest of my life I have gained 30 pounds because I have fed my sadness and stress with food. I’m thinking I might have to move on as much as I love my job. How do caregivers truely deal with so much death and dying

Gary Purdy - October 05 2019

Two days a week I volunteer at a hospital cancer unit and one day a week I volunteer at a palliative and hospice care facility. There is a nurse on the cancer center who left her position with the palliative and hospice care facility. Her reason being she realized she wanted to treat people to get well and not to be with patients at the end of life. Every nurse at the palliative and hospice care facility are there by choice; this is the only type of care they want to girls. Just a sidenote, I am visiting only patients that are taking chemo At the hospital and I am visiting patients and staff at the standalone palliative and hospice care unit. 21 years ago my wife died after her last chemo and was on hospice less than 12 hours. Today I am The happiest I have been in my life as I visit weekly

Barb Sanders - October 05 2019

I’ve been a hospice nurse for 30 years. If a patient can tell me. at the end of life, what they want- they will say “I just want to be comfortable and I want my family supported”. I share this with all of the new nurses who feel that they “need to do more”. If my patient dies comfortable… and the family is supported… I give myself an “atta boy”. This is the job they hired me to do. Like a midwife to the dying. You know what the end result will be… the only question is what the path will be between here and there. They hire us to shepherd them through the scariest part of their lives. I am guessing this nurse has done this. She just needs to acknowledge her job isn’t to “save them”. By the time hospice meets a patient/family they know their diagnosis. They know their prognosis. Now it is up to us to help them- and their loved ones… be as okay as possible. My best phone call is …" he’s gone .. but I’m okay". That tells me – not only me but also the entire team has done their job. One of the biggest challenges for new nurses is understanding and using the TEAM. Just because you can … doesn’t mean you should. Not using your team is a predictor of burnout. Just sayin’

Julia Seibert - October 02 2019

Very well said. I appreciate this perspective.

Nancy DeYoung - October 02 2019

Hi Barb,
I left working with terminal patients when young for same reason this woman feels. Imagine my surprise when I ended up 30 years later finding myself back with cancer patients! Your blue book should be in every hospital and Hospice and Nursing School. It is all about perspective and maybe life experience.
Once quality of life is no longer possible my feeling became my job was then to give quality and comfort to life that was left. To see it as helping them pack their bags for the next destination with clarity and positive care. Living each day is all any of us really has so it should be lived without pain, getting touch daily, experiencing cheer and loved ones. Gone from My Sight can dramatically change perspective of the departing as well as those being left. It MUST be all about the patient not the caregiver. I have seen some families make it a misery and some a loving experience. The Blue book can be the key.
This nurse may just not have the life experience and should go to happier specialty for a time. Refusing counseling tells me there upis an issue untold here.
Hope all is well with you, I see all your posts. Great service and teaching.

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