Is this how a doctor would feel to discover that someone you provided care for has passed away? Let’s say you found out about their death from a mutual friend on Facebook, how would a doctor feel about that? Maybe that’s not a very good comparison since the person’s doctor should have been notified compared to a certified nurse assistant who’s not on the list to people to notify, but still. You, the certified nurse assistant, are the last to know.

It’s crazy how just a couple days ago, I was assigned to a resident I didn’t know would pass away. I came to work evening shift thinking I was scheduled to work (I’ve been working non-stop mind you, so I didn’t think it was my day off after my morning part-time job). I ended up working in place of someone who was mandated the previous shift (meaning 16-hour shift), so she could sleep before coming to work again.

The resident wasn’t even considered hospice at the care center! Sometime I wonder whether I would have been able to accomplish something had I known sooner, or anticipated something. Maybe I could have prevented his death or at least prolonged it, but that’s the tough part I’ll never have an answer to when it comes to should have or could haves.

I just came from my 30-minute dinner break and the charge nurses wanted me to check the vitals of certain residents given antibiotics. So I prepped my materials and began taking vitals. Unfortunately, I found the resident sitting on his bed, mid-bladder elimination, and unresponsive. I could still remember his yellow skin color and opened eyes starring down as if something was on his lap besides the urinal he held between his legs.

I remember shaking his shoulders to see if he was just dazed. Nothing. I immediately notified the charge nurse and a code blue was announced. The charge nurses on floor immediately performed CPR while I prepped the oxygen tank. And my other co-workers called 911 and waited for the arrival of the paramedics. First came the firefighters who continued CPR and began AED, followed by the policemen, then finally the medics.

I had to continue my rounds with the other residents I was assigned to, but continued to check-up on the situation. Thankfully, the medics and firefighters were able to stabelize the non-responsive resident to a faint pulse before rushing him to the hospital. In the end, I obviously had to write a chronology of the care I provided up to his burnt-chest body being wheeled out of the facility on a gurney.

Can you imagine that two days after the ordeal, you discover about his death through Facebook? I mean, I’ve seen residents in hospice pass away but to see non-hospice residents seems to have left me with just a tiny bit more mental and emotional impact.

After this ordeal, I realize that I have a better idea of the kind of doctor I want to be in the near future: a compassionate doctor who will strive to give the best possible medical and holistic care a human can give another human. I won’t be a certified nurses assistant waiting on the nurses in charge any longer. I will be someone who’ll strive to treat every patient who visits her to the best of her ability. But of course, now there’s laws, hospital policies and private practice policies that limits a doctor’s ability. Doctors are taught to protect themselves due to whatever reason that may be. Let’s not think of that right now… Becoming that compassionate doctor must come first.

That’s all I could reflect on during this 30-minute period before bed. I have work early tomorrow morning, so I took a melatonin gel pill to help me sleep tonight. I want to try to see if it’ll work. Until next time!




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