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Grief. The good kind.

Death is hard, but the really hard part about this job is not giving up hope.

One caring oncology nurse shares her grieving techniques and personal challenges in yesterday’s edition of NYT’s health blog, Well. The Good Grief Center is a local organization in Theresa Brown, RN’s, community that has provided her and her colleagues advice on healthy grieving and the importance of self-care.

Coping with patient death is a big part of many nurses’ lives.  When is the right time to grieve for a patient, especially when your shift doesn’t allow for any down time?   How close do you get to a patient?

Nurse Brown admittedly has waffled on some of these issues, but she has learned through working with Good Grief how to establish some boundaries.  For instance, she makes it a rule to leave work at work.   And, the greatest source of processing her grief?  Connecting with  fellow nurses:

The most helpful thing we do on the floor to process our grief is talk to each other. Out of the blue the nurse working next to me might tell me, with disbelief, that a patient has died. “He was just here; it seemed like he was doing so well.” Word spreads in whispers, “So-and-so is going home on hospice,” “Mrs. X is ‘comfort measures only.’ ” We sit around the conference table at the start of shift getting report. As one nurse says, “Oh, he died,” everyone briefly stops to listen, to ask, “Who died?” and to leave a small moment of silence in that patient’s wake.

To read the full article, visit Well blog.

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