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How Do Nurses Who Work In The Front Line Cope With Death And Suffering

1503 words - 7 pages

About the Study:

Professional tears: Developing emotional intelligence around death and dying in emergency work, was a study compiled and published in the well known, and reputable Journal of Clinical Nursing by Cara Bailey, Roger Murphy and Davina Porock.

The research by Bailey, Murphy and Porock set out to explore and research how nurses who work on the front line of a hospital - the emergency department, manage the emotional toll and impact that death, dying and suffering has in their field of work. Understanding plays a big role in the research, rather than any specific goal, discovery or objective.

A point important to note, this study is a follow on from previous research by the authors. A prior paper that featured in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Trajectories at the end of life in the emergency department, opened discussion on nursing practices in regards to end of life care. This research that followed on however, has more of a focus on the professional development required of nurses, to cope with the death and dying that they experience in their field of work.

This study in particular didn’t appear to have a distinct hypothesis. There was no real question to pose or answer. What it appeared to be however, was to understand the impact of death and dying on end of life care emergency professionals.

Due to changes in disease patterns and treatment of said diseases, nurses are now exposed to death in a way that is much different to what it used to be. (Degner & Gow, 1998). Considered one of the most stressful aspects of nursing, caring for people that are dying or deceased is a very difficult thing to cope with and adapt to. This sort of care can have a myriad of negative impacts, if the emotional stress associated with it is not managed properly.

The research by Bailey, Murphy and Porock addresses the fact that pre service nurses have a ‘gap in knowledge,’ and that there is a need for medical professionals to learn how to manage the emotional impacts and aspects that their demanding role has - before they enter the industry.

Some professionals find end of life care rewarding, but others avoid building necessary relationships due to the emotionally exhausting nature of the work. Either way, there is a necessity to research how nurses can manage the stressors that care of the deceased and dying present, and deliver excellence in care.

Practicalities of the Study:

Research Method
A qualitative study at heart, research was conducted by observing the inner workings of a large emergency department in the UK over a period of 12 months. Specifically, the participants of the study observed activity, then later on would reveal data and insights through informal conversations that took place. 900 hours of these observations were collected.

As well as informal conversations with an objective to reveal information, 28 arranged and ‘in depth’ interviews were conducted with various individuals....

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