Some people may wonder what goes on in our heads when we are euthanizing a patient, as well as what goes on afterward. Here are some thoughts that I recently reflected on.
1. The client was visibly sad and shaken about euthanizing her pet. She was sad throughout the whole scenario. I stayed calm and provided words of comfort, and I did not try to make her happy. I did try to make her feel heard and valued. I also emphasized that the dog would not feel any pain.
2. I was sad. Honestly, I did choke up at the start of the scenario. My lips definitely quivered. I did not try to “hold it together” to an uncomfortable point, I just let the emotion come. As I proceeded with the scenario, I was able to focus on what I had to do, feel the emotion, but stay composed.
3. After I made the client feel secure, I could have said way less. Sometimes I talk more when I am a little nervous. I did feel out the water a little to see if more talking would make her comfortable, and it did not. But, I think this will happen with some clients, especially if I do not know them beforehand.
4. My conclusion is: feel emotions as they come and proceed with the task at hand. Do not worry about being sad, because it is not a bad thing. If you cry, you cry! It is OK!
5. I will be attentive to my emotions during the next time. I will inspect where they are coming from, why they are here, and then move forward with my job.
6. I will focus on breathing and staying calm. The calmer I am, the calmer the client will be.
7. If the client does not want to connect and just wants to get it over with, that is fine. Do your job and provide what the client wants while making sure the patient’s passing is peaceful.