Chapter 2: Where are you vulnerable?
When you over-identifying with the situation or a person
“The same week my mother had a heart attack, I was back at work and a patient I admitted had a cardiac event. My patient was going through the same thing my mom was. I had a hard time putting it aside”. – ICU Nurse
Sometimes the line between your life inside and outside of ICU blurs. Quite often, overidentification with a clinical situation happens at a subconscious level and you may not recognize it immediately.
To become more aware of how your beliefs and experiences might impact how you care for patients and their families, reflect on:
How do I feel about death?
What are my own experiences with grief and trauma?
How am I seeing this family? What am I not seeing?
What assumptions am I making about this family member that might not be true?
How can I best understand and work with my own response to help the patient and family?
Although over-identifying can be harmful/painful, your experiences can also give you insight into the experiences of the families you’re working with. As a result, you may develop deeper connection and empathy and be better attuned to their needs.