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What the death of your first patient feels like as a nurse

4 2 4
14.06.2018

Sometimes I wonder what people would imagine went on in my life if they ever saw my search history.

As an example, over the past few days I’ve Googled ‘what happens at a coroner’s court,’ ‘what does blood do,’ (that was at a particularly low point in my exam revision), ‘can stomach acid corrode bone?’ and ‘how much potassium is enough to stop the heart of a 100kg man.’

Seriously.

If my internet usage is being monitored somewhere in the depths of MI5, I’m sure it’s raised a few questions. Questions that totally have legit answers, BTW. That potassium search was all in the name of medicine and science.

One search I’ve made a few times over the course of my two-year degree was about coping with death.

On the wall in my room hangs a motto: ‘Student, you do not study to pass the test. You study to prepare for the day when you’re the only thing between a patient and the grave.’

Just because us students are fresh and keen and ready to learn, standing at the nurse’s station all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, doesn’t mean we don’t get our hands dirty.

Our mentors, nurses with decades of experience behind them, will push us to get involved in everything from basic drugs rounds to performing chest compressions during CPR.

It’s all part of our training, and so is death.

We have to deal with the mortality of our patients. We have to understand that we can’t help everyone.

In fact, for some, we have to respect their wish to die in the way they choose, where they choose, surrounded by the people........

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