This nurse found a way to break hospital routine to reflect on life and death

In hospitals, death and dying are part of the daily routine. Nurses and doctors need to learn to cope with the death of a patient. But with all the hustle and bustle in hospitals, and the next patient already waiting, where’s the time to cope, the time to stand still for a moment to reflect on life and death? At the University of Virginia Medical Center, in Charlottesville, Virginia, a nurse working in emergency care found a way. He calls it ‘the pause’. He experienced the importance of it two years ago, after he and his team tried and failed to resuscitate a patient. A chaplain came in, stopped the whole team from leaving the room and lead them into a prayer for the patient. The nurse, Jonathan Bartels, thought it was an important moment, and inspired others to do it more often. ‘The pause’ doesn’t have to be a prayer, it can also be a silent reflection. Now, all workers at the Virginia Medical Center learn to take a moment together after every patient’s death to silently reflect. And the concept is starting to spread beyond the University of Virginia.

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This nurse found a way to break hospital routine to reflect on life and death

In hospitals, death and dying are part of the daily routine. Nurses and doctors need to learn to cope with the death of a patient. But with all the hustle and bustle in hospitals, and the next patient already waiting, where’s the time to cope, the time to stand still for a moment to reflect on life and death? At the University of Virginia Medical Center, in Charlottesville, Virginia, a nurse working in emergency care found a way. He calls it ‘the pause’. He experienced the importance of it two years ago, after he and his team tried and failed to resuscitate a patient. A chaplain came in, stopped the whole team from leaving the room and lead them into a prayer for the patient. The nurse, Jonathan Bartels, thought it was an important moment, and inspired others to do it more often. ‘The pause’ doesn’t have to be a prayer, it can also be a silent reflection. Now, all workers at the Virginia Medical Center learn to take a moment together after every patient’s death to silently reflect. And the concept is starting to spread beyond the University of Virginia.

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