Type of paper: Report

Topic: Nursing, Grief, Support, Quality, Breastfeeding, Emotions, Health, Patient

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/10

Nurses are expected to support and accompany chronically ill and dying patients as part of their practice, which is both difficult and hurtful to their long-term emotional health. While there have been measurable improvements in the quality of care and patient survival rates, deaths in intensive care units remain at more than 19% of the patient population. The sole purpose of critical care practitioners is to save and prolong lives while at once offering patients a peaceful and dignified death, with the latter being mostly perceived as a failure. Additionally, nurses are expected to make difficult end-of-life decisions and create appropriate environments for the patients’ relations, which can be challenging especially when deaths are sudden and unexpected. It is only natural their persistent exposure to death, despair, and grief, can render them vulnerable to grief, stress, anxiety and ill motivation. This is not least because according to Shorter & Stayt (2010), nurses are susceptible to developing emotional attachments to patients in their care. The nature, quality and intensity of the nurse-patient relationship influences the duration and intensity of the resultant grief.
As a future nursing practitioners, I recognize the importance of a workplace where the sociopsychological needs of all employees are catered for. Unfortunately, nurses are perceived as caregivers, and thus they never receive the same care from their employers. Worse still, I realize that many chronic care nurses have received formal training in coping with the occupational grief and stress. There are also no formal support mechanisms to support such nurses. The situation in many hospitals is exacerbated by overstretched nursing resources (low nurse-to-patient ratios), which ensures that nurses are constantly on call and thus are not allowed time to heal. Effectively, I intend to ensure that employers are alive to the issue and provide formal support mechanisms to help chronic care nurses cope with stress and grief, while at once creating awareness on the same among the practitioners themselves.
Without urgent and adequate measures in support of the nurses, their welfare would be diminished, and with it, their ability to perform optimally. According to Shorter & Stayt (2010), grief stems from the practitioners emotional engagement with the patients, which breeds compassion that in turn translates into better quality care. If the nurses’ emotional welfare is ignored, they will tend to detach themselves from their patients’ psychological and physical suffering as a way to protect themselves from grief, which is however, detrimental to the quality of care. Nurses will tend to protect themselves by limiting social interaction and emotionally distancing themselves in order to avoid forming emotional attachments to their patients. Since feelings of compassion on the part of the nurses make for better quality care, the detachment will be detrimental to the quality of care. Further, the repeated episodes of grief may result in cumulative grief as a consequence of unresolved grieving. The failure to the fully grief multiple deaths takes a toll on the emotional health of the nurses, which means that in the long-term, the nurses will struggle with work strain and ill motivation. Shorter & Stayt (2010) and Costello (2006) established that nurses grieved for patients that they cared for, after striking a cord with them or identifying with the patients’ pain and suffering.
In order to succeed in gaining the management’s support in recognizing the critical care nurses’ grief and establish support mechanisms for grieving nurses, I will leadership, teamwork and communication skills. It is important that I not only take people with me, but perhaps most importantly, it is critical that I work with a wide range of stakeholders to achieve the ends that I am seeking to achieve. I need to be able to ensure that the team of critical care nurses in this organization are aware of the challenge facing them and the need to formally address them. I can them leverage this support to approach the management so that they can take me and my cause more seriously.
My sole motivation in taking a stand stems from a real life experience with nursing practitioners who are scarred by the inescapable deaths of their patients and the seeming casual approach that institutional managers have chosen to address the problem. It is personally shocking that even health care practitioners perceive the associated emotional toll as a just another occupational difficulty that does not require specific measures to address it. With the existence of a wealth of empirical and theoretical evidence that nurses are likely to suffer from grief and that such grief need to be resolved/recognized, I thought it was imperative that this much is attained. Even most importantly, I was driven the fact that such grief among nursing and other health care practitioners drive them to emotionally and socially distance themselves from the patients, which in turn affects the quality of care. I am convinced that that addressing the welfare of the nurses will translate into improved patient outcomes and welfare.


Costello, J. (2006). Dying well: nurses’ experiences of ‘good and bad’ deaths in hospital. Journal of Advanced Nursing 54(5), 594-601.
Shorter, M., & Stayt, L. C. (2010). Critical care nurses’ experiences of grief in an adult intensive care unit. Journal of Advanced Nursing 66 (1), 159–167.
Zhu, X., You, L., Zheng, J., Liu, K., Fang, J., Hou, S., et al. (2012). Nurse Staffing Levels Make a Difference on Patient Outcomes: A Multisite Study in Chinese Hospitals. Journal Of Nursing Scholarship, 44(3), 266-273.

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WePapers. (2020, November, 10) Care For Care Givers Report. Retrieved May 27, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/care-for-care-givers-report/
"Care For Care Givers Report." WePapers, 10 Nov. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/care-for-care-givers-report/. Accessed 27 May 2024.
WePapers. 2020. Care For Care Givers Report., viewed May 27 2024, <https://www.wepapers.com/samples/care-for-care-givers-report/>
WePapers. Care For Care Givers Report. [Internet]. November 2020. [Accessed May 27, 2024]. Available from: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/care-for-care-givers-report/
"Care For Care Givers Report." WePapers, Nov 10, 2020. Accessed May 27, 2024. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/care-for-care-givers-report/
WePapers. 2020. "Care For Care Givers Report." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved May 27, 2024. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/care-for-care-givers-report/).
"Care For Care Givers Report," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 10-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/care-for-care-givers-report/. [Accessed: 27-May-2024].
Care For Care Givers Report. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/care-for-care-givers-report/. Published Nov 10, 2020. Accessed May 27, 2024.

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