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    • #6008

      Deanna Stringer
      Participant
      @dstringer

      I was kind of disappointed by the quality of the articles for this week’s discussion as they didn’t seem to tell me much more than we have done the past couple of weeks. These articles mostly helped us again identify the issues but really did not give much more information on how to minister to others in these situations. It would be helpful to have more in depth information in practice. I was intrigued by the term “Constructivist Self-Development Theory” with the idea of “trauma being an interruption of human development and adaption.” I have seen this played out with both of my children. My son screams as loud as he can and avoids any contact when he has bad dreams or I suspect something is causing a flashback. He was an infant when his trauma happened. My daughter was 3 when we got her and she talks baby talk and gets this look on her face that is like a toddler trying to manipulate. I would like to do some more study on how to move them out of this or if it is even possible once trauma has occurred. I can say that I can identify with several of the statements from other health care professionals in the first article as not being “good enough” for my traumatized children. My children do not remember consciously any of their trauma but we were their 3rd family by the time Chris was 2 and Angel was 3. Their emotional development was definitely halted at this point when they came to us but because they can’t verbalize the trauma, I am not sure that what I experience is really Vicarious trauma. If it is, the concept is ambivalent and disjointed. I pick up on a lot of their feelings and behaviors and often react rather than respond and catch myself having to back away realizing that they are going back through trauma in their bodies that they were too little to express.

      At this point I do not have the same feelings at my current work in the hospice, as I am receiving positive feedback about my role in the organization. They are very supportive and aware. I would like to be able to offer some sort of resiliency training for the staff but don’t think that I have enough specific information to really make a difference. We have lost a Director of Nursing, our CEO, and 2 of our long term nurses in the last 2 weeks. (one to retirement not necessarily to burnout) but our management staff I believe probably to some burnout and compassion fatigue. We have a younger staff currently with our experienced nurses leaving and with what I am reading, I am concerned that if they do not get some help with self-care, we will be headed into some additional turn over with the leadership change that is coming up within the organization.

      My plan for self care will include at least 2 times a year, taking time completely by myself and going to a motel or retreat for at least 2 nights. I am also going to stick to a better sleep routine as I notice that even though I need the complete silence at night to rejuvenate, I am also short with my kids behaviors if I am tired. I have gotten out of a routine of going to bed at the same time since I have been working at home. I also need to schedule my meditation and Bible study times rather than allowing it to happen “whenever”, so I am going to write out a schedule to include my daily self-care. I also can not longer eat and work at the same time. I need the break away from my computer.  We work 8-4 but that assumes that we are working while we are eating and I would rather work until 5 and be allowed to step away from the work for a bit during the day. I believe I will be more productive and the stress on my brain and body will allow for some relaxation.

    • #6025

      brandeaton
      Participant
      @brandeaton

      Only hours after reviewing the week three readings and spending some quiet time reflecting upon my learning in the course, I had profound conversation that really impacted me.  My associate chaplain and I were in a “team meeting” when I shared with him the poor prognosis of a resident here we both know well and with whom the associate chaplain had had some recent meaningful contact.  After hearing my report, he said with a good deal of pathos, “You know, what I hate about this position is that I often just get a meaningful relationship built with a resident and they die.”  My associate chaplain has been here for three years.  I thought in that moment about how many times I have had the same experience over ten years, and I recognized that I have started to avoid investing myself with our residents in that way.  This is not burnout, but compassion fatigue that is part of the burnout.

      I am grateful for the resources this course has given me to take next steps to care for myself in (hopefully) reconstructive ways.  I am making contact with a spiritual director to establish some sessions via zoom.  I have also ordered John Sanford’s book, Ministry Burnout, to do some further reading and self-study.  I have been maintaining my spiritual disciplines of daily prayer and participation remotely with the local church where I worship and will certainly continue.

      I want to express gratitude to all of  you–Rick, Deanna, and Lisa–for sharing yourselves along this journey.  It has been an immense help to me.

    • #6026

      Deanna Stringer
      Participant
      @dstringer

      I can very much relate. Sometimes I may get a couple of meaningful conversations but often it is just 1 significant time. Our natural response is to protect ourselves from hurt especially emotional/ heart hurt that comes from genuineness of caring about people. We give people a piece of ourselves as we invest in them but we have to grow those pieces back by investing in ourselves too. I went to a spiritual counselor for a time and she was very helpful. I am glad you found someone. You have been helpful also in your reflections. Thank you!! Deanna

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