When I accepted the job at UWMC, I never considered the downfalls of working in my “dream” environment. I had this idealized vision that our job at the hospital is to make you better. Sometimes that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, even if we try our best, things don’t work out.
The first time I encountered death in my department was a long term patient. I remember arriving to work and being told that today was going to be rough - one of our patients had just passed. I remember being in shock all day. This wasn’t possible. I had just spoken to him last week, and his wife knew me by my nickname. All day I couldn’t stop thinking about the look on his wife’s face as she asked for parking validation, when I knew she really wanted answers and comfort.
I thought that that day was going to be the roughest, boy was I wrong. Today, I was informed that one of the nursing managers on my floor, only had a day left to live. She had been sick for a while, but this hit came suddenly. All over the department were bloodshot eyes, not from tiredness, but tears. It was heartbreaking. I am surrounded by strong, smart, and clever women. Losing one is never fair, and the whole floor felt it. Off-duty nurses, former colleagues, everyone that knew her, stopped by to visit.
I’ve got to say that taking this job, has definitely prepared me for the harsh realities of the medical world, but has also made me appreciate the people that work in it. These people, they become your family.