Current Content
Volume 40 - Number 6
November/December 2014

The Lived Experience of Pediatric Burn Nurses Following Patient Death
Marni B. Kellogg, Marianne Barker, and Nancy McCune

The purpose of this study is to describe the lived experience of pediatric burn unit nurses who have experienced the death of a patient. A qualitative phenomenological design was used for the interview and analysis. Methods were incorporated into the design to ensure reliability, consistency, and rigor. Using a semi-structured interview guide and phenomenological concepts, the investigators interviewed seven registered nurses who were employed in a pediatric burn unit. Data obtained were analyzed for common themes that emerged during examination of transcribed interviews. Four common themes of feelings were identified: 1) grief and sadness, 2) helplessness, 2) compartmentalization of feelings, and 4) lack of preparedness for dealing with situations involving the death of a pediatric patient. While nurses are emotionally supportive to patients and families, the emotional support available to nurses who are dealing with these situations is lacking. By developing individual coping strategies and seeking peer support, nurses attempt to deal with emotional situations faced in the workplace. Nurses, nurse educators, and administrators must understand the impact of nursesí grief following patient death. By understanding and validating their emotions, it is hoped that nurses will be supported in a way that will enhance a healthy professional environment and personal well-being.