This is a reflective essay based on my experiences whilst on my six week medical placement on a haematology ward at a local hospital. The aim of this essay is to discuss the psychological and sociological impact on the family when a loved one dies, and then focus on how the nurse supported the husband and relatives through their loss. I chose this particular incident as I felt very strongly about the care given to this patient shortly before her death, and felt the need to reflect on it further.
In order to help me with my reflection I have chosen Gibbs (1988), as the model to help guide my reflective process. This model comprises of a process that helps the individual look at a situation ...view middle of the document...
" Ann was by now clutching at my hand and asking me not to leave her alone, I reassured her that I would stay with her as long as she wanted me to. My mentor then summoned me to attend another patient nearby, so I explained to Ann and apologised that I had to go and reluctantly did as I was asked by my mentor. On returning to Ann she was found to be tachycardic and having great difficulty in breathing. The doctors then arrived and it was suggested that her husband be called as she was deteriorating. It was at this time I had previous arrangements and so had to leave the ward for a short time.
On my return to the ward a nurse informed me that there had been a cardiac arrest on the ward whilst I had been gone, I instinctively knew it was Ann. She had died alone, whist my mentor had been attending another patient. I was informed that an attempt had been made to resuscitate her, without success, she was then pronounced dead.
Ann's husband and family were already waiting in the relatives' room, and so were informed that she had passed away. It was the families wish to be left alone with Ann, to allow them to say their farewells, they were reassured by the nurse that someone was available should they need company at this very emotional time. My mentor then spent a short time with the family explaining the procedures and helping them with any information they wanted, including details on where to go for help and support if they needed and where to obtain the death certificate.
On reflection of the incident I felt that I did not act in the best interests of Ann, as the NMC (2002) (clause 1) states that I am answerable for my actions and omissions, regardless of advice or directions from another professional. I felt angry that I was made to leave a patient who was obviously very frightened and anxious, when there was no reason for me not to stay with her. Scrutton (1995) reinforces this by stating that the support of a friendly nurse in stressful situations can greatly reduce the anxiety and fear of the patient. I agree with this and felt that it was a shame that I was not there for her and feel she would have appreciated my company.
I understand that nurses are busy and have to prioritise their work but at this present time there was no urgent situation that required me to leave her.
I felt angry and annoyed that when the family came to view her body, the nurse involved actually started to show some concern for Ann when only a short time earlier he had no time for her at all.
It was a shame that a professional nurse acted in the way that he did, ignoring how anxious and upset she was becoming at not being able to breathe. The nurses` compassion and communication skills seemed to be very much lacking, not listening to her concerns and not showing any feelings towards her. Cooley (2000) acknowledges the requirement of all nurses to use basic interpersonal skills, to appear warm and welcoming to patients whilst...