Scar Tissue in the Heart

Anne Katz

nurse's grief, burnout, palliative care, compassion fatigue
ONF 2013, 40(4), 307-307. DOI: 10.1188/13.ONF.307

Way back when I was a much younger nurse, I wanted to work in palliative care. The human resources manager at the hospital where I applied had other ideas for me; it was not until two years later that I began to work in the community in HIV/AIDS care. I learned a lot about palliative care in those years; azidothymidine was not available outside of a clinical trial and everyone who contracted the disease died. I spent many hours at the bedside of young men as they left the world, and I spent many more in tears as I tried to make sense of the losses—so many losses. After five years, I was burned out and left clinical care for a teaching position. Seven years of teaching undergraduate and graduate nursing students made me long for the gratification that only patient care can provide, and I went back to a clinical position in oncology.

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