Sunday, October 09, 2005

"On Being a Witness to Suffering"

From the nurse at Digital Doorway: today's must-read.
"What does it mean to be a witness to suffering? What impact does it have on one's psyche and soul to bear the very human burden of sharing others' pain? Is there a cumulative effect? Does one become immune or hardened against the pain of others? Is there a point where one just has to quit altogether?

...I sometimes ask myself why I choose such work, electing to continue to serve those in pain, those suffering, those whose lives are unorganized, chaotic, riddled with disease and dysfunction. There's not always an easy answer to such ruminations, and on days when I witness people making incredibly poor life choices and propelling themselves into further illness and dysfunction, I cringe at my dedication and wonder if my limit will soon be found, the emotional levees breached, the city of my mind flooded beyond its capacity to continue to witness such self-destruction and pain. Until that time, I imagine, it is the golden moments---such as the recent death of my sweet patient and the gratitude of his caregiver---which propel me forward and reinvigorate my desire to serve.


Blogger Keith, RN said...

I am so very honored that you quoted my entry on your site and directed others to Digital Doorway. Thank you so much. I actually recently referred you to a site which highlights work-related blogs( You are now blog-rolled there as well.

Thanks again!

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read more than once that psychiatrists tend not to be heavily rewarded by their job. It gets me to thinking that there is improvement necessary in how they are educated. Here's an interesting take.

A really nice article by this guy can be found here.

Involving evolution in psychiatric practice is fraught with ethical dillemmas, but knowing just how the brain came to be what it is seems like it should lead to better treatments (and happier psychiatrists).

11:25 AM  

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