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Strategies for Teaching Loss, Grief, and Bereavement

Matzo, Marianne LaPorte PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN; Sherman, Deborah Witt PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN; Lo, Karen MS, RN, CRNH; Egan, Kathleen A. MA, RN, CHPN; Grant, Marcia DNSc, RN, FAAN; Rhome, Anne MPH, RN


Teaching loss, grief, and bereavement to nursing students should be an interactive process to stimulate critical thinking and address the affective domain of learning. Lecture as a teaching methodology may be the easiest to prepare and deliver; however, used alone, it is ineffective in identifying perceptions, fears, and issues related to dying and death. Personal and professional experiences of loss, grief, and bereavement are central to student’s learning of effective and compassionate care of the dying patient and their family. Strategies that explore such experiences allow students to move forward and focus on the cognitive retention of content related to loss, grief, and bereavement, as well as the ability to learn related psychomotor skills. The authors discuss pedagogical methods for teaching student nurses about loss, grief, and bereavement utilizing the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) curriculum training materials.

Authors’ affiliations: Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, Ohio (Dr. Matzo); New York University, New York, NY (Dr. Sherman); The Hospice Institute of the Florida Suncoast, Largo, Fla (Ms. Lo and Egan); City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, Calif (Dr. Grant), American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Washington, DC (Ms. Rhome).

Corresponding author: Marianne LaPorte Matzo, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN, PO Box 342, Goffstown, NH 03046-1342 (

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.