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DC/Maryland/Virginia Letters to the Editor


Patient Deaths in LTC Difficult to Swallow
In response to the Feb. 21 cover story “Good Grief,” I work in long-term care, and a death there can be very rough, especially since most who pass away have been in the facility awhile. You get to know them and their families.

I worked in a hospital and, although a death was hard to take then, it’s harder in a nursing home. As a nurse’s aide when I was in school, I was told by nurses and other aides to “get used to it” if I was going to be a nurse. I found this very cruel and unfeeling. When referring to a resident in long-term care, a CNA actually said, “It hurts me more to see a dog die than one of these people.”

That always struck me, and I vowed never to act that way. Eleven years later, I haven’t become hard-hearted.
— Posted by online user MicheleRN2000 at

Nurses can Take Solace in Easing Stress for all
In response to the Feb. 21 cover story “Good Grief,” it’s sad to lose a patient, especially a young person or someone you’ve worked with for some time and gotten to know and like.

Can you take comfort in knowing that you did everything you could for this patient? Were you able to make this person and his or her family a little more comfortable and a little less stressed? If nothing else, you can at least make the patient feel, for a brief moment, like he or she wasn’t a dying person.
— Posted by online user JerZFox at

Cover Story Brings Care Goals Into Focus
As someone who does palliative care in the hospital, I find it can be helpful for nurses to reframe their care goals in regard to dying patients (“Good Grief,” Feb. 21).

If death is viewed as a failure, then there is often emotional stress when it occurs. If the focus is instead on making the patient and family as comfortable as possible, then death can be easier for all to bear. The nurse caring for the patient in the burn unit is an example of providing the best nursing care possible in a very difficult situation.
— Marian Grant, CRNP, DNP, ACHPN Baltimore

‘Just Another Code’ no Ordinary Story
The Feb. 21 End of Shift article “Just Another Code” was a wonderful story told with insight and compassion. Please don’t quit your day job, Mark Stambovsky, RN. I bet you’re a top-notch nurse. But keep sharing your literary talents, too.
— Carol Bayne, RN Woodbridge, Va.

Nurse’s End of Shift Offers key Lesson
I usually sit down hastily with my copy of Nursing Spectrum and go straight for the classifieds at the back to see if there is a dream job waiting for me.

I was stalled this morning by the End of Shift article “Just Another Code” written by Mark Stambovsky, RN, in the Feb. 21 issue. Today, my triplets celebrate their 7th birthday and my dear old dog was taken for surgery. The pulse of life pushes me in haste. But his telling of a code that led him to wonder about the life behind it was so moving that I may be a few minutes late delivering cupcakes.

As nurses, we have all been so busy that we sometimes push back the enormity of what we do and how much of life passes our view. I heard someone refer to our work as the work of intimate strangers. His piece conjured up that image.
— Marisa Tamari, NP Kensington, Md.


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