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


The bereavement team nurse works with the chief nursing officer to send a staff email about the death, an invitation to the memorial service, and information about emotional process debriefings. (If the memorial service and debriefing information isn't immediately available, it can be shared later.) The team's physician representative works with the chief of staff to send a similar email to physicians; other disciplines should be notified as appropriate. A separate email is sent by the bereavement team therapist to nurse leaders inviting them to encourage grief processing and adjust schedules accordingly. (Visit to view email templates you can use in your organization for communication with leadership and staff.)

The bereavement team human resources representative communicates with benefits and payroll departments to begin the process of employee separation for the deceased nurse and to ensure patient care and other work is uninterrupted. (See The work of patient care continues.)