Editorial

Nurses grieve too

Nursing is a job in which the relationship between professional and client transcends normal social boundaries. This is because nurses remain with the people they support at every stage of their lives, including their deaths.

Nursing is a job in which the relationship between professional and client transcends normal social boundaries. This is because nurses remain with the people they support at every stage of their lives, including their deaths.

Few people outside the profession experience the depth of relationship that can form between nurses and clients, which means nurses can find it hard to explain the emotional burdens of their work.

Ciara Mac Dermott and Paul Keenan write about the grief of nurses who looked after a child with learning disabilities who died while in their care.

Nurses must not only cope with the deaths of people they have cared for: they must also be available for the families left behind

Death comes to us all and most of us have to deal at some point with the death of a close relative or friend. But nurses must not only cope with the deaths of people they have cared for and about, often for several years. They must also be available for the family members and friends left behind, often in a distraught and fractious state.

And of course while doing this, they may themselves be grieving too.

Mac Dermott and Keenan’s article, which is based on research in the Republic of Ireland, reveals how important it is for nurses to be supported through these difficult events so that they can, in turn, continue to provide the support they want to give.

As the article makes clear, we should never underestimate how demanding it is to be close to people who are dying; it is one of the toughest aspects of a nurse’s job.

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