Alumni

Pediatric oncology nurses' lived experiences with loss and grief

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Description: Pediatric oncology nurses experience loss and grief in their daily clinical practices as a result of working directly with pediatric cancer patients and their families. These experiences of loss and grief can pose many threats to the pediatric oncology nurses' emotional, physical and psychological well- being. Although there have been numerous suggestions from professionals indicating that the loss and grief of professional nurses warrants investigation, there continues to be a lack of research in this area. A review of literature was conducted to ascertain the state of the science regarding this issue. A descriptive qualitative study using a Husserlian perspective and Colaizzi's method of data analysis was conducted via the Internet using a sample of 11 pediatric oncology nurses from a children's hospital on the west coast of the United States. The purpose of the study was to examine the lived experiences of loss and grief in pediatric oncology nurses. Analysis of the data yielded the themes of Connectedness, Doing All One Can and Healing. Nurses described feeling connected to their patients, patients' families and coworkers. They stated that they also experienced a certain level of alienation among those that did not understand how they could perform work with critically ill and dying children with cancer. Pediatric oncology nurses detailed how they also used alienation as a way of protecting their loved ones from experiencing distress in hearing work-related stories or witnessing the emotions the nurses had after significant work-related losses. Pediatric oncology nurses who felt that they were able to do everything they could to ease their patients' suffering were able to be at peace with the outcome of their patients' courses of treatment. These nurses described ways in which they sought support and closure that brought about a sense of healing. This study adds to the literature on professional loss and grief reactions of registered nurses and offers suggestions for effectively addressing this issue in the practice setting. Recommendations for future research are included.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work