With Halloween just around the corner, many of us are preparing costumes for our children or ourselves. From vampires and minions to Jedis and princesses, the possibilities are endless. While most people enjoy in the lighter side of trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving pumpkins, and visiting haunted attractions, the origin of Halloween is a day to remember and celebrate the souls of the dead.
The souls of the dead and believing in the paranormal can be a touchy subject in the nursing world. Nursing is a field often filled with superstition, intuition and having the ability to sense approaching crisis. In fact, a good nurse is often seen as someone who not only thinks quickly and rationally, but is good at reading the situation and sensing changes before they show up on scientific monitors.
Most nurses who have ever worked the night shift can tell you stories about unusual happenings, ghost sightings, a phantom ringing bell, or whispers in the dark halls. Lori, a nurse from Alabama, shares her experience in Scrubsmag.
“I had a shivery incident happen to me the other week. We lost a resident that night (she was on hospice, so it was expected), and as I went back down the hall that my office is on, I heard sobbing. I started opening resident doors but could not find the source. It was around 4 a.m. and everyone was sleeping. The last door I opened was one in which no one was assigned, and the room was empty. It didn’t seem as if the sobbing was coming from in there, but when I opened the door the sobbing sort of hiccupped and stopped. No one was in the empty room, and I couldn’t find out where the sobbing was coming from. The scariest part is that I mentioned it to a CNA who has been here for years, and she said that the same thing has happened to her twice, both times when we have had a resident die. I guess a spirit hangs around here and mourns when a resident passes away.”
As healthcare professionals who deal with life and death on a regular basis, it’s no surprise that many nurses naturally consider questions regarding the souls of patients who pass. Where does the soul go? Can the unexplained noises and whispers be the ghosts of patients past? Do patients who die at a facility come back to check in on us or haunt current patients? For those of us working in palliative or hospice care, death doesn’t surprise or scare us, but the thought of ghost encounters in the wee night hours will always be a little intimidating.
Have you experienced any freaky encounters on your shifts?
We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
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