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When it feels like there’s not enough time during the 8 hour day to finish our work tasks, we all tend to bring some parts home with us. But then there are days when you don’t physically have any tasks to bring home, but instead, mentally, you bring work home with you. I think that’s the most draining part.

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These few months have been challenging without a doubt. Lots of changes. Lots of things to anticipate. I have been on my new unit for a couple of months now, and one thing is for sure: it’s always busy. Regardless of whether it’s patient load/care, or people coming in and out. It just calls for a busy environment. I think one of the hardest challenges I face at work is being surrounded by actively dying patients. But I think today, it kind of took a toll on me. As a health care professional, I am aware that people do inevitably pass away in the hospital. But it’s something completely different to have worked with them and realize the next day that unfortunately, they have passed. Today, as I was working with an 103 year old man, the man sharing a room beside him was packing up his belongings, getting ready to leave for somewhere beyond the hospital. It was shortly after though, that I realized that this man was going to hospice. All I could think about was this: How could such a seemingly average looking man, dressed up in his suit and wearing a hat who was up walking about in his room, be to the point where he’s about to go to hospice? I guess it put more of an impression on me today because normally, well, the people I see sent to hospice, are not walking, sleepy/drowsy, and well, not alert. It nearly broke my heart seeing this man… and the idea that in 6 months or less… he will be gone.

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Sometimes I cannot help but think if at the end of the day, I’ve done enough for my patients. Especially those situations where you could potentially have a big effect on where they could end up going. For instance: are they safe to be returning home? Are they able to make their own decisions? I always wonder if the assessments I’ve done have truly been reflective of their true nature/performance and whether or not I made the right ‘recommendations’. I find I cannot stop myself from pondering about these things while I ride the bus into work. The hardest thing is not to put my own opinions and values into these situations. How does one even be objective about it?

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When work gets too much, we either save it for another day, or we just tackle it right on and bring it home. But how does one deal with the mental baggage that comes along with such things? It’s hard to “let it all go” when the clock hits 4:15 and you’re on the way out the door. Perhaps I need to work on my abilities to properly balance work and life and at the same time, not keep it to heart.

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