Why is this emotions management important in this job? In what ways do medical staff alter the emotions of their patients?
CASE STUDY 4.2 RIDING THE EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER Louise Damiani’s work is an emotional roller coaster most days. The oncology nurse at CentraState Healthcare System in Freehold Township, New Jersey, soars with joy when patients beat their cancer into remission. Then there are the low points when her patients are given grim news about their cancer. She also battles with the frustration of office politics. But even after a long shift, Damiani doesn’t let her negative emotions surface until she gets into her car and heads home. ”You have to learn how to pick and choose and not bring that emotion up,” Damiani advises. ”You say, ’OK, I can deal with this. I can focus on the priority, and the priorit)’ is the patient.’” As well as managing her own emotions, Damiani has mastered the skill of creating positive emotions in others. She recently received an award in recognition of her extraordinary sensitivity to patients’ needs and concerns. For example, one of Damiani’s patients wanted to return to her native Mexico but, with an advanced stage of cancer, such a journey wasn’t possible. Instead, Damiani brought ”Mexico” to the hospital by transforming a visitors’ lounge into a fiesta-type setting and inviting the patient’s family, friends, and hospital staff to attend the special event. Lisa Salvatore, a charge nurse at the recently built Leon S. Peters Burn Center in Fresno, California, also recognizes that her job involves supporting patients’ emotional needs, not just their physical problems. ”With burns, you don’t just treat something on the outside,” she says. ”You treat something on the inside that you can’t see.” Salvatore also experiences the full range of emotions, including the urgency of getting burn patients out of emergency within an hour to improve their prospects of recovery. ” I like high stress. I like trauma,” she says. Still, she acknowledges the emotional challenges of treating children with burns. ” I deal with it and then I cry all the way home. I just sob on my way driving home.” Anil ShandLl, a medic from the 328th Combat Support Hospital in Fort Douglas, Utah, has witnessed more severe burns and injuries than most medical professionals.
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