Several years ago I did a favor for a friend. I worked a few nights as a private duty nurse to her father who was dying of cancer.
Procedures for death pronouncement vary from state to state and sometimes within the individual state as well. Your institution will have a set protocol for you to follow at the time of death that conforms to the regulations in your area.
While the Tanzanian nurses at Tumbi Hospital have accepted me graciously, they don't entirely understand why I'm here. They know I am an American nurse-midwife and that I will be staying with them at Tumbi's Reproductive and Child Health clinic for six months.
My pursuit of nurse-midwifery was originally driven by the impotence I felt as an HIV-educator with Peace Corps from 2000-2002 in Malawi. The Life Skills classes that I taught at a remote secondary school seemed laughably insignificant among a population of girls who had little control over their eventual partners, professions, or reproductive futures.
Nurses understand power dynamics. We know when we are expected to defer to docs, just as our patients know when they are expected to defer to us. But often, underneath the carefully constructed chains of command, conflicting emotions coalesce and fester. There is the rage of the patient who feels objectified by a system which equates a human being with his lab values.
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Agency San Francisco
San Francisco, California