Why Is Grief Support Important for Nurses?
Nurses are regularly exposed to grief and sorrow throughout the course of their work. Grief begins as a nurse prepares for a patient’s death and continues during and after the death. Grief support is an important tool for helping nurses cope with these feelings.
In some cases, nurses are unable to overcome the grief associated with the loss of one patient before another patient dies. This situation is commonly referred to as “chronic compound grief.” This constant exposure to death can become extremely difficult for nurses to handle.
Effect on Work
When a nurse has unresolved grief, she has a tendency to avoid relating to other patients. In an effort to protect her own feelings, she often causes new patients and families to feel abandoned and unsupported.
Effect on Personal Life
Chronic grief impacts not only the nurse’s ability to provide quality care at work, but also her personal life. Without proper grief support, many nurses find that their health and personal relationships are affected.
Nurses should be educated on effective coping mechanisms for dealing with grief. In addition, grief support services should be provided to any nurses who feel the need for more advanced counseling.
Allow nurses to say goodbye during the patient’s last hours, if possible. Once the patient has passed, allow nurses to participate in memorials or remembrance sessions.
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