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Feb
23

To Attend or Not To Attend?

I just found out the details for the funeral service of the patient I posted about a few days ago. There is a large part of me that really wants to go. But I struggle with whether I am crossing some invisible line? Even worse, would his family want me there?

I actually wrote a paper about this very issue last semester. The title was Boundaries in Pediatric Nursing: How Close Is Too Close? Unfortunately, the answer was “It depends.” How helpful.

Some of the research I did addressed the question of whether nurses should attend the funerals of their patients. The consensus among family members seemed to be that they really did appreciate the gesture of showing up and paying respects, even if they didn’t say anything at the time. I did some anecdotal research of my own by asking around among the nurses on my own floor, and most of them said they had gone to the funerals of some patients they had cared for often or had gotten particularly close to. They said that you just start to figure out how much you can personally handle, and how much you feel is appropriate to do outside of work hours. Each nurse is different.

So the internal debate will probably continue. But I wonder what you all think. Any strong opinions for or against?

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