Grief Management After a Nurse's Death

Judy E. Davidson, DNP, RN, MCCM, FAAN; Rachael Accardi, MA, LMFT; Courtney Sanchez, LCSW; Sidney Zisook, MD


Am Nurs Journal. 2019;14(11):30-32, 47. 

In This Article

Contact the Family

The bereavement team therapist assigns someone (the deceased nurse's manager or close work friend) to return employee property and invite the family to the organization's memorial (which should not be on the same day as the family's funeral). Even if the family doesn't attend the organization's memorial, the staff will need it. The contact also asks about the family's funeral and whether hospital staff are welcome.

The family contact works with the chaplain, who will organize the memorial. In our experience, families who attended the hospital memorial appreciated the opportunity to hear work colleagues grieve with them.

The family contact arranges for packing and delivering personal belongings and returning any organization property (laptop, phone). He or she asks the family how they would like personal items returned. If they choose to pick up the belongings, the contact greets them and provides a private place to meet so they have an opportunity to share their feelings. The family contact also answers employees' questions to avoid multiple employees contacting the family directly.