Heal through compassion

As I wait for August because all the exciting things happen or begin in August, I have been doing a lot of continuing education. I mean I have to keep the learning muscles up and ready for school. I get different CEUs from different sources. Or. sometimes, I don’t get CEUs but they are important talks to attend.

Including different avenues from the hospital. This past month I did a research symposium where I learned a lot. And my advisor for university was the key note speaker. And at the end of last month I did a class on the Pause. This was not the surgical time out. This refers to the moment of silence among the healthcare workers after an unsuccessful code blue and the patient dies.

Because we are not going to win them all.

This is an intentional pause.

It is done to acknowledge the patient who has just died. Because they were a person with hopes and dreams and desires in life. And they had every expectation of going forward with that life.

Until they couldn’t.

It is also done to acknowledge the healthcare team who were working to save them. And all their individual effort during the code.

And couldn’t.

The Pause is an international practice. And was started in 2009 by Johnathan Bartels, an emergency room nurse. And has spread since, even to television shows. I think this is something that has always been done, to some extent, but now it has a name. And naming things is influential.

This is a way to acknowledge that with all of our medications, and tools, and machines, this person who had value was unable to be saved. It is a moment to recognize that something momentous has happened. And while momentous things happen every shift, especially in the ER, this was the patient’s momentous thing. And it was also a thing that happened to the healthcare workers.

To me, the pause is a moment to recognize that this has happened, to realize that there will be changes in the survivors lives, and to realize that were will be a change in my own life. Because every death impacts the healthcare worker. The pause allows healthcare workers to realize that something has happened, to acknowledge that it happened, and to set it aside to help the next patient.

This 1 hour webinar was powerful. And made me think about the times I have pronounced a patient dead while working in med surg. And all the times that perhaps went unacknowledged in the last two years as patients died alone in their beds. Except for the healthcare workers who were there. And they just kept giving care to their next patient after pausing to reflect, very briefly, on the one who just died.

I hope that understanding that someone was there when they couldn’t be gives comfort to the families.

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