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When Nurses Grieve: Spirituality's Role in Coping

Shinbara, Christina G. PsyD; Olson, Lynn PhD, ABPP

doi: 10.1097/01.CNJ.0000365989.87518.60

This study explored spirituality as an aspect of support for nurses grieving the loss of patients. Previous research has sought to understand the grief support needs of nurses; spirituality is one support nurses describe. Fifty-eight nurses responded to questions related to spirituality from a Needs Assessment Questionnaire (NAQ) designed to study grief support for nurses. Nurses reported spirituality as important in their daily lives (75%) and in helping them cope with patient-related grief (70%), and cited spiritual-based resources as beneficial in coping. Spirituality can play an important role in coping with grief and should be included in nurses' support.

Nurses grieve the loss of patients, but care focuses on patient and family grief. What helps nurses cope?

Christina Shinbara, PsyD, completed her Pre-Doctoral Psychology Internship at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital in Columbia, Missouri. She worked largely in Behavioral Health Triage and with patients with traumatic brain injuries. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Primary Care Psychology at the White River Junction Veterans' Hospital in Vermont. Her doctoral dissertation research addressed grief support for nurses.

Lynn Olson, PhD, ABPP, is an Assistant Professor at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her specialization and research interests include pediatric consultation and liaison services, pediatric health psychology, infant and toddler assessment and intervention, and pervasive developmental disabilities.

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