Bereavement and grief are experiences that people encounter when they are dealing with the loss of people in their lives. Grief is a feeling that is associated with death and a diagnosis of a terminal infection of a person that brings an onslaught of feelings to nurses, families, and patients. Grief, anger, and anxiety are feelings that are experienced during the time between a patient’s death and diagnosis (Jacobs, 2016). Grief has been defined as a phenomenon that involves the processes of mourning, interaction, coping, and psychosocial rearrangement, which are stirred in response to the impending loss of a person (Shulman, 2018). Although its subjective presence in research has increased, the progressive discrepant results highlight the need for more studies that will help to understand the term from people who experience grief. Therefore, this paper aims to explore the results of a hospitalized end of life patients who have anticipatory grief, define what nurse’s grief means and its roles in nurses’ daily requirements.
Nurses experience grief in several ways depending on their specialty, which is triggered by a loss of a patient (Sullivan, 2017). According to Oates & Maani-Fogelman (2019), loss and grief is experienced by people and can be seen when there is the inexistence of something which was valued. Such loss affects nurses and can leave nurses in a state where they fail to work effectively. Advanced education is provided on the various coping strategies for grief after a patient’s death. Providing grief support to the healthcare providers who usually experience patient loss allows the development of positive results to the nurses’ grief experience (Worden, 2018). Upholding a positive attitude can become a challenge after long times of caring and experiences of death. This is because nurses often remember negative encounters. Such lasting memories require the need for grief awareness of healthcare providers and the formulation of plans that help healthcare providers to handle such experiences.
A research study by Johnson et al. (2016) shows that the grief as experienced by nurses has been debated in psychological studies for long. Such loss has been named as mourning, and recovery of loss. Grief is one of the terms that has been used and is defined as a journey through the cognitive and emotional adjustments after the death of an individual. The author further asserts that the journey to new self-identity, self-definition, and new meaning in life is demanding and challenging. According to this article, the association between grief and personality is of key attention to qualitative research that is carried out to help understand the term grief. The article intends to reveal the evidence in grief response, which may be perceived in different personalities. The study participants have been seen as bereaved persons. The participants completed an online survey that includes the measures of grief. In this analysis, the predicting variable is the personality attitude, the dominant personality function, which includes intuiting, feeling, thinking, and sensing and also the functioning personality pairs. This study uses the quantitative methodology that was applied through the use of multivariate regression analysis that helps to analyze the independent and dependent variables of each hypothesis.
Wisekal (2019) studies the grief encounters of nurses after the death of a patient in an acute hospital environment. The article author asserts that healthcare providers such as the nurses are expected to be skilled, competent, resilient in readiness for professional obligations, and emotional variables while managing patients’ deaths. Learning resources such as publications help to examine nurse’s grief encounters in palliative care settings, oncology settings, and pediatric nursing. Learning resources from online database searches were reviewed to help understand the grief concept. Thorough scrutiny showed that the five-stage procedure helped in the data analysis of understanding the concept. According to the article author, key themes were recognized, which showed the importance of colleague support when they experience the loss of a patient, the aspects which impact on these grief reactions, and the influence of formative demise occurrences in healthcare practices. The research study revealed that individual grief responses showed by healthcare providers such as nurses after the demise of a patient has both a negative influence on the expertise conducts in the place of work. This has shown the possibilities for grief difficulties to healthcare providers that outline the need for supporting them while making healthcare decisions a patient dies.
According to Breen et al. (2019), grief refers to a personalized experience and depends on several aspects such as self-esteem, socioeconomic status, and social support. The objective of this study is to explore the lived nurses’ experiences of grief reactions, feelings, emotions, and the mechanisms for coping with the patient loss situation. Nurses experience many patients’ deaths that expose them to grief. Grief has been inadequately handled in healthcare settings despite being recognized to be a threat to nurses and health performance. A qualitative design guides this research study in a phenomenological approach that is adopted to help in understanding the concept. Information was gathered from a purposive sample of nurses. According to the article, themes were developed whereby the participants report the grief felt after a patient’s death. Some of the nurse’s grief emotions reported included anger, faith, denial, crying, fear of the family’s reactions, sadness, among others. According to the research, the author gives evidence that nurses respond to such a loss emotionally, hence experiencing grief. The frequent patient’s deaths usually burden healthcare providers such as nurses as they always try to overcome and cope with it. The research study stresses the essence of creating strategies that assist healthcare providers, such as nurses, to deal with grief from a holistic viewpoint in order to improve nurses ‘ performance and patients ‘ health outcomes positively.
An exemplary case is used to show the concept of nurses’ grief. In this case, the circumstance explains the grief concept where a borderline case shows a scenario where a nurse acted as a primary nurse while caring for a patient who was undergoing palliative care. During this time, the nurse upheld an emotional distance and opted not to provide emotional support out of empathy. Though the nurse made sure that the patient was comfortable, the nurse also did not have time on the family to cope with the patient’s diagnosis. After the death of the patient, the nurse showed no reaction and perceived the patient’s demise like other patients. The patient’s demise did not cause grief to the nurse because the nurse had not established a strong relationship with the patient.
The oncology nurses usually encounter with persons who are suffering or at risk of grief. Quick identification and referral to supportive services may help in timely and effective treatment. Existing evidence suggests that pharmacological and psychotherapy treatments are useful in the alleviation of grief symptoms among patients (Kirkpatrick, Cantrell & Smeltzer, 2017). Provision of palliative care, symptom management, and patient education can also assist in preventing grief. Therefore, education and support programs are important in addressing grief among patients.
Nurses are important in family nursing practices. They have a significant role in therapeutic interventions for grieving families. Their expertise in building a strong relationship with the grieving families allows the families to find healing and hope by addressing their core constraint beliefs. Acknowledging the patient’s loss, engaging in active listening, and allowing family members to express their feeling is an important way that nurses can intervene and enhance the grieving process (Kirby et al., 2018).
This paper shows that nurses’ grief is a usual happening that significantly affects job satisfaction, relationships, and workers’ engagements hence affecting patients’ health outcomes. The process of grief management is an important step undertaken when handling nurses’ grief. An understanding of nurses’ grief through the examination of cases may contribute to educational and supportive strategies in the development of nurses’ resources that help in grief management. After acquiring a great understanding of nurses’ grief concept, the nursing professions may adopt ways of dealing with patients and families in nursing settings and also manage grief.