Reflective Learning Essays Examples
A code blue situation is one that I once remained uncomfortable being part of. It requires an organized and prompt team response in order to increase the chances of a life saved (Rousek & Hallbeck, 2011). The first time I encountered a code blue, there was failure to restore normal cardiac rhythm and the patient died. I could not keep myself from crying afterwards that I had to leave the room. Having looked back at the experience, I realized that the reason why I was emotional was because the patient reminded me of a loved one who passed. I was witness to the emotional pain her children experienced, and at the time, I put my grief on hold to become their support person. The patient’s death had brought to fore unresolved grief for that loved one.
During the code, I felt overwhelming fear of the patient not being revived knowing that she had two young children who will be left behind. Heavy hearted, I was begging God in my mind to let the patient live. Having talked to coworkers, one of them also felt sad but the intensity was not as it was before because it was his second time to witness a patient die and he had found ways of coping. The others instantly switched to the typical then-and-now mode where feelings were in check and the sole focus was on task performance (Dyess, Boykin & Rigg, 2010). They had been through a code several times and have also learned to cope with patient deaths.
The overwhelming feelings made it hard for me to concentrate on my role as the medication nurse that I had to be prompted. My focus was on the heart rhythm registering on the AED monitor. As such, I might not have delivered timely interventions if I did not have a peer who prompted me. In hindsight, the emotional paralysis was unhelpful to the patient and would have contributed to failure to attain the desired outcome (Scheick, 2011). If I did things differently, I would have been able to anticipate the patient’s need and give timely pharmacological intervention consistent with fidelity to my role in the team.
My actions in that situation were inconsistent with what I believed was how a nurse should have acted which is to be therapeutic in anticipating the needs of the patient. Knowledge of countertransference would have made me aware about how I was responding emotionally to the patient (Scheick, 2011) which was irrational and made me ineffective. The experience relates to previous practice experiences of countertransference albeit they were less intense than my code blue experience. For instance, there was a former patient who shared many similarities with my mother, but because I did not have negative experiences with my mother, I did not respond emotionally in an irrational manner.
Based on my experience, I learned how personal experiences can lead to countertransference. I also learned that it can reduce my ability to be therapeutic with patients. Moreover, I realized how unresolved grief can be a trigger for countertransference. Self-reflection was necessary in generating these learning insights. Taking time to think about why I was overwhelmed with fear and grief led to the transformation of the experience into learning because I realized the connection between my personal grief for a loved one and the patient who was being revived. Only by understanding myself could I accept my emotional responses and the impact it had on my role as a nurse. Knowing better the next time will help me correct situations of countertransference for the benefit of the patient.
At first, I felt that I had become too emotional to be in a career where patient suffering and death sometimes cannot be avoided. When I talked with peers, I realized that they also empathized with their patients who are in pain or who were dying. It was a very human reaction to be emotionally affected. It was even described by a peer as the thing that drives her to be compassionate and caring. The key, however, was to focus on what the patient is feeling and what he/she or the family needs during one’s encounters with them and to reflect on and process negative emotions when out of the situation. In so doing, one becomes objective and therapeutic. Henceforth, I learned to be emotionally competent being able to express and manage feelings in appropriate ways (Doas, 2011).
My learning experience belongs to the category of human caring and relationship skills. Emotional competence affects the way a nurse relates to patients and colleagues. Knowing how and when to express negative emotions is vital in maintaining a caring environment for patients and a collegial work environment (Doas, 2011). The skills of emotional expression and management can be mastered with time and with constant reflection as well as eliciting feedback from others and sharing experiences for collective learning.
Doas, M.D. (2011). Emotional competence makes a difference (for staff and patients)! Journal of Christian Nursing, 28(1), 34-37. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21294463
Dyess, S., Boykin, A., & Rigg, C. (2010). Integrating caring theory with nursing practice and education. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 40(11), 498-503. doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181f88b96.
Rousek, J.B., & Hallbeck, M.S. (2011). The ergonomics of “Code Blue” medical emergencies: A literature review. Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering, 1(4), 197-212. doi: 10.1080/19488300.2011.628556.
Scheick, D.M. (2011). Developing self-aware mindfulness to manage countertransference in the nurse-client relationship: An evaluation and developmental study. Journal of Professional Nursing, 27(2), 114-123. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2010.10.005.
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