Research: Acute care nurses managing grief after patient death


Project title: Understanding how acute care nurses experience and manage grief after the death of a patient in their care: A constructivist grounded theory study. 

Project summary: For a nurse who works in an acute clinical setting such as a hospital, patient death is somewhat anticipated due to the nature of the profession in that working environment. Putting this into context, currently in Australia, just over half of the population die in a hospital setting. As nurses represent a majority of the Australian healthcare workforce, understanding how they recognise and manage their own grief may present an opportunity for changes in best practice and individual self-care strategies. This may increase a nurse’s capacity to provide better quality patient care if their own grief as a health care professional has been recognised and managed. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to understand how acute care nurses experience grief after the death of a patient in their care, and their capacity to manage their grief within the context of the workplace.

What will I be asked to do?

Participation will involve taking part in an individual in depth interview with the principal researcher. The interview will be approximately 45-60 minutes in length and will be held at a mutually agreed upon location between the participant and the researcher. If the interviews cannot be held face to face, alternative interview arrangements will be offered either via telephone or Skype. All interviews will be audio recorded and transcribed verbatim for data analysis. The interview questions will be based on gaining an understanding of your grief experiences as an acute care nurse after the death of a patient in your care. All information you give in this study will remain de-identifiable and confidential and only known to the principal researcher and the co-investigators of this research study.

How much of my time will I need to give?

The interview will be approximately 45-60 minutes in length.

What benefits will I and/or the broader community receive for participating?

There is no direct benefit to the participants undertaking this study, however it is hoped that this research will give participants the opportunity to provide new insights and an understanding to the wider community of how acute care nurses, who work in a hospital setting, experience grief and how they manage this as a health care professional after the death of a patient in their care.

What if I require further information? Please contact Nikki Meller should you wish to discuss the research further before deciding whether or not to participate.

Nikki Meller, PhD candidate, School of Nursing & Midwifery
P: (02) 9685 9816 E:
HREC Approval Number: H11885


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