The grief experiences of the Adult Intensive Care Unit staff nurse

Shorter, Melanie (2008) The grief experiences of the Adult Intensive Care Unit staff nurse. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Aims - To explore the grief experiences of the AICU staff nurse, their perceived coping mechanism when a patient dies, and the perceived effects on the AICU staff nurse.

Background - The Critical Care Unit is a naturally stressful environment, were nurses encounter death, dying and end of life decision making on a daily basis. Nurses experience grief, and are therefore vulnerable to emotional, physical and intellectual repercussions. The evidence base relating to this area of nursing is under researched and the grief experiences of the AICU staff nurse have not been extensively explored.

Method - Heideggerian phenomenological approach, interviewing 6 AICU nurses on their experiences of caring for dying patients and the subsequent grief that may be encountered. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and themes generated through Colaizzi's framework for analysis.

Findings - The nature of death is different on AICU to other departments as deaths tend to be more expected, death is not a significant event. Nurses strive to empathise and connect with patients, seeking excellence in their practise however this was at a personal cost. Formal support was not accessed; however informal talking with colleagues was largely deemed an effective coping mechanism. Nurse emotionally disassociated when caring for dying to protect their emotions, concentrating physical aspects of care. Participants also highlighted that they wanted a greater role in end of life decision making. It was easier for nurses to deal with grief if they felt a good death had been achieved.

Conclusions - The grief experiences are individualised, complex and multi-faceted, there are many predisposing factors and circumstantial occurrences that shape both caring for the dying and the subsequent grief experiences. Further research is required to understand the grief experiences of the nurse not working in the AICU environment.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Keywords: MNursSci, Master of Nursing Science, Adult Branch, Grief
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2008
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2018 15:51

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