I'm tanking up on coffee before my second sandwich shift (before and after Thanksgiving day) and pondering (a) what makes a "good nurse" and (b) the concept of sympathetic crying. I go around saying "I'm a good nurse and gosh darn it people like me" to make myself laugh. I started it a long time ago when a nurse meanly said, "You're a bad nurse and nobody likes you," but now it makes me snicker. Really, though, what does "good nurse" entail? Technical proficiency? Knowledge? Ability to work well in a team? A calling? What?
About the crying thing, I normally cry when I'm mad or in severe pain and not otherwise. Mostly when I'm mad. Then I'm mad that I'm crying and cry harder. The exception is when I'm in the room when a patient dies or someone gets bad news and they or the family start crying. Then I cry (sympathetic crying). It's like a pavlovian response. Nobody notices what I'm doing if the news is that bad, so I am not worried much about professionalism, but does anyone else do that?
My ex-husband always said when I was headed for nursing school, "This is a bad idea. You are going to get too attached to people and be devastated if they clank off." (Dude had a way with words.) My response was, "Many times I've wished MY nurse cared about her job." I didn't think caring about people was a contraindication for being a nurse. I still don't.
But I really do get attached to patients as soon as they're MY patient. It was worse in the ICU when I took care of the same folks for days or weeks, but it's amazing how emotionally involved you can get in a 6-hour ER visit. It wears me out sometimes, but not all the time, and I have never been able to peg what the difference is. Some things I think are going to really upset me don't, and sometimes I'm really horribly disturbed for no reason I can see (eg, "The first dozen times I saw this, I was fine").
So yes, I'm a good nurse and people like me (I AM. THEY DO. REALLY.), and I'm a sympathetic crier. Possibly "sympathetic crier" is a euphamism for "hopelessly codependent." I don't know.