intensive care: Between the human and the machine

Intensive care nurses are in-house. This is something one hears often. Arrogant, rude and opinionated are other adjectives that are mentioned in connection with my “subgroup”.

If this is not the case for sure on all intensive care nurses must also recognize that we are a special force.

I look at myself and my colleagues, many have developed quite amusing peculiarities. Typically, a very direct communication, which – viewed from the outside, is in Intensive care – quite used to. A certain amount of sarcasm is to be found.

I explain these characteristics through our special field of activity. Working with the most critically ill, in some cases, the dying patient is mentally challenging. We have few opportunities to Express our experiences and feelings and to process. Examples of case conferences, discussions with the hospital-pastoral care or, in special cases, and super visions with external experts. To be fair, was also mentioned, that I myself have experienced on a number of occasions that such offers were not perceived.

Without protective armor, it is hardly

How you look at it – every nurse in the course of their career their own way to process the experiences and impressions and be done with it. Sure that one is also that the nurses put a protective armor, and many things not so close to anywhere else.

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This sounds easier than it is. To a lot of tanks and it is like a machine. To little and you break in the long run, to the many stressful experiences. Both things I had to witness, unfortunately, already personally.

Sometimes I work just…

Also to myself I am amazed such mechanisms. There are days where I work. This does not mean that I do my Job right! I take care of my patients and their families professionally and personally courteous, and correct. Routinely, if you want to call it that.

On some days I am but to myself, that I’m losing the human in the bed. I don’t see the Person with a history, a destiny and a worried family. I see a “sick people in bed”, surrounded by technical means. I communicate, operate the equipment, administer medications, perform necessary nursing interventions and documenting them.

It is quite small moments that get me in and out of the human reality are sometimes. There are the unexpected events. The human tragedies. Sometimes only a sentence of a family member or a untypical, unexpected response of the patient.

… and then I feel again

Suddenly I realize again, very deliberately: It’s not just “Sick in bed”, there are people with a life of its own, which has suddenly and unexpectedly taken a turn. Now these people need my support and help.

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Even if it sounds like a paradox – I’m glad for these moments. You show me personally that my ethical and moral compass still works. I’m not a machine, but also a human being. That there are always things on my own, trained protective armor penetration and close to me.

Man to stay and not break

For me, the development of one’s own Self, in addition to continuous professional development, one of the great challenges of my Department. To give his Best to remain human, without breaking it to the fates.

I have been doing for many years Sport, to process a busy day. I speak with my partner, my family, my friends, as well as with my colleagues. The duty of confidentiality is to be observed, is self-explanatory.

Voltage fields in the intensive care

For me, it is this emotional tension, which makes intensive care nurses so. On the one hand, the high-tech medicine. Dealing with all of the devices. The high level of professional claim. The disputes with the medical services and to each other. The need to make themselves heard. On the other hand, it is the empathic dealing with the sick people. Compassion and humanity. Sometimes the realization that there is nothing more to do. To lose people, though it has done so many things right. All of these things do something with you.

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Everyone who works in my Department longer find his way. I could fill several pages with reasons and arguments, never having to go into care. Nevertheless, there is a realization that always fascinates me: I would do it again! Because despite everything, I love my Job and don’t want to miss him. Not everyone is born to be a nurse. The intensive care is not for every nurse attractive. But I am always glad that I went down this path. Without the job experiences, the people I meet and accompany could be, life and all, I wouldn’t be the person I am.

Photo: Marc Alexander Noll