Death, Dying and Loss

Death, Dying and Loss




Death and dying are part of nursing practice. Despite the fact that healthcare providers do all they can to help patients get better, death is sometimes inevitable. Nurses play an important role in caring for dying patients and their families. Nurses spend a lot of time with dying patients and their families, and they might feel a lot of responsibility during the process. It is critical that nurses learn and develop necessary skills and attitudes to cope with death. As a nurse, I would like to view death as a relief from pain and suffering for both patients and their families, while still acknowledging how hard it is for them to accept the process.

As part of nursing practice, most nurses will care for dying patients. These nurses have different attitudes towards death and dying. End of life care should be a part of training for nurses. I look forward to caring for those nearing the end of their lives, and IW would like to help them through the process with as much dignity as possible. I plan to work in a nursing home at one point, and this is where many dying patients are cared for. Alftberg et al. (2018) published an article on conversations with dying older adults. One major concern of the nurses who participated in the study is the emotional toll of helping patients and their families prepare for death. When approaching the end of life, most patients would like to express their wishes, their desires and feelings about death (Ong et al. 2018). However, all these should be at the request and comfort of the patient. Medical staff are often at hand to listen to the patients during these times. I would like to offer a listening ear at this time as it is one of the last comforts that the patient will receive.

Caring for families of the dying or dead patient is another overlooked part of end of life care in nursing. As family members and loved ones approach the end of their life, those left behind struggle to accept the reality of loss. Nurses play an important role in helping families of dying patients. Adams et al. (2014) explored the major role of nurses in dealing with families as patients approach the end of life. The major roles for nurses include showing concern, giving factual information, supporting the family’s decisions and building rapport (Adams et al., 2014). As a nurse, I would like to be a source of comfort for patients’ families. The best way to do this is to explain the patients’ experiences especially when they cannot communicate, such as whether they are in pain, and what can be done for them. It is important to outline the options available for the patient and their family, and support whichever decision they make,

In summary, nurses must recognize the critical role they play in end of life care. These moments are usually very difficult both for the dying patient and the family they will leave behind. It is important to handle all parties involves with the required tact, compassion and professionalism. End of life care will often remain with the families long after the patient is gone, which is why nurses must do their best to address the needs of the dying patients and their families.


Adams, J. A., Anderson, R. A., Docherty, S. L., Tulsky, J. A., Steinhauser, K. E., & Bailey Jr, D. E. (2014). Nursing strategies to support family members of ICU patients at high risk of dying. Heart & Lung, 43(5), 406-415.

Alftberg, Å., Ahlström, G., Nilsen, P., Behm, L., Sandgren, A., Benzein, E., … & Rasmussen, B. H. (2018, June). Conversations about death and dying with older people: An ethnographic study in nursing homes. In Healthcare (Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 63). Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute.

Ong, K. K., Ting, K. C., & Chow, Y. L. (2018). The trajectory of experience of critical care nurses in providing end‐of‐life care: A qualitative descriptive study. Journal of clinical nursing, 27(1-2), 257-268.