From VIP Unit to LTVU

My journey; How I deal with my stress, and the Importance of Debriefing after a death of a patient. 

At the end of every hectic shift, I often find myself feeling ineffective and inadequate. Made me feel not fulfilled and after 10 years, questioned myself if Nursing really is for me. 

I used to care for VIP patients with a ratio of 1:1. It is safe to say that I deliver what is expected of me in a timely basis, I feel effective, from doing the usual bedside duties, carrying out orders, doing extra for the station and nursing department. Then here I am in LTVU handling 3 patients 95% of the time. Exhaustion is given, every day is not always planned and the margin for errors is so small.

I learn in LTVU so much and I’m grateful for those unplanned days. I certainly do not know everything and forget to do certain things, but I am honest about it and I always ask when I’m in doubt. My confidence was slowly being built and I thought it’s a good thing to always have things to work on. 

Growth comes in different ways after all. We always have a choice and strength that we never would have realized if we were not tested and did not experience the things we never did before. What a difference a five-month can make.  

Stress will always be there and Nurse Burnout has soared during this pandemic. It is not surprising then that somedays are just way too difficult to handle physically or mentally. And keeping a positive spirit all day long is just the only way it should be. Honestly, that is a hope – not a guarantee. 

I, like many others, deal stress differently. For me, The Phoenix becomes my Way to Decompress, an outlet to express the other side of myself. Having coffee out with friends, someone to vent out about your horrible day, over-sleeping, and Netflix. THEY. HELPED. 

Our lives as nurses seem to revolve around give – give – give and leaves us nothing for ourselves. Let’s be kind to ourselves and stop doing it. We can’t give anything we don’t have since Covid-19 has stretched our coping abilities so thinly. With this extra work stress, codes and deaths along with being masked all day, often puts us into emotional overdrive – which is all fathomable. Debriefing is important to regain emotional equilibrium. I just hope we can do more of this in the future and might be a good idea to have it actually built into a system or a program.