Shouldering a patient's pain

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I GREW UP AS the youngest of three brothers. Neither of my brothers is married or has children. Before my labor and delivery (L&D) clinical experience, I'd never held a newborn, and I had no personal knowledge of either the clinical or emotional aspects of pregnancy and childbirth. L&D was the one area of nursing I was nervous to experience firsthand during my nursing education.
I was raised “old school.” Growing up around so many males had conditioned me to avoid showing emotion under any circumstance. I was taught males who cried were weak. But, I also learned from my father and my religion to be nonjudgmental and compassionate, and to help anyone in need. For these reasons, I was drawn to the nursing profession. As I advanced through clinicals in nursing school, my family's expectations that I should both be strong and help others molded me to feel that I should try to shoulder my patients' pain. This approach to patient care helped me cope with extreme grief on the most difficult day of my nursing education.
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