Nurses And Grieving : A Time For Change

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Nurses and Grieving: A Time for Change
Elli Hunt
Denver School of Nursing Abstract
Individuals enter nursing with a wide array of experiences in how they grieve the loss of someone or something. These experiences follow them into their career and express themselves in the way they grieve for the loss of a patient. Evidence shows that this has historically been inadequate and unhealthy. To prevent the negative impact that ineffective grieving has upon the individual the approach to the grieving process must change. In doing so nurses will become more emotionally and physically stable while going through these difficult times, ultimately helping the healthcare institution to thrive.
My husband, Bob, a veteran nurse for 30 years stares into the distance with a seemingly emotional detachment as he recollects the horrifying events of that day. As a new nurse working in a small rural hospital he was wrapping up his typical day finalizing charts and making sure his 32 patients were doing well when he received the call from an Emergency Room (ER) technician. A father had frantically called the ER stating he was bringing his 18-month old boy in who he had accidently run over with his riding lawn mower. Bob responded immediately and within minutes saw a man running toward the door holding a small lifeless figure wrapped in a blood soaked towel. Bob took the child from the father and ran into the trauma room where he unwrapped the towel from the child. The

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