Connie Jorsvik was an RN in medical, surgical and high-risk maternity and cardiac critical care for 25 years. She has been at the bedside of over 100 patients as they were actively dying. Her passion and purpose is helping every person achieve purposeful end-of-life planning
Olga Nikolajev is a death educator, certified in Thanatology, the study of death, dying, loss and bereavement. What makes Olga a great mentor is her ability to recognize that we all posses our own inner wisdom when it comes to death, dying, loss and bereavement.
Meina J. Dubetz is a Registered Nurse who has worked with Oncology and Palliative patients for over thirty years.
She enjoys a balanced life where she continues to nurse on a casual basis as well as practices Hypnotherapy and Reiki in her private practice.
Yvonne Heath is a wife, mother to 3 amazing children and nurse since 1988. She has worked in different hospitals in Ontario, New York, Louisiana and Texas. She is devoted to helping people learn to live well and die well, and to create compassionate communities.
ou are sitting at home with your family at the dinner table, you’ve glazed over and vanished into your own world of sadness and sorrow; another patient died today. Your partner asks are you okay? You answer is ‘oh yeah’ and yet you know it is a lie.
You are lying in bed all alone replaying the last few weeks and wondering why you reach for glasses of wine more often than you did before. You medicate the only way you know how. And you know it brings only temporary relief from the grief you feel.
You are at work trying to squeeze out a five-minute break, a patient rings and you find yourself angry and resentful as you walk down the hallway to their room. You curtly handle their request and as you leave the room feelings of guilt flood your heart. You keep walking down the hall hoping for no more buzzers.
Imagine for a moment if you had great dying, death and grief training in college or university when you were first training to be a nurse. Yes you have witnessed many patient deaths and your dying and death training prepared you well for what you would see and hear and how you could take great self care through these many patient losses.
Canada, North America, has a very unique approach to dying and death. It is not this way in other countries and cultures. Check out two other cultures and research their unique approaches to dying and death. Compare their ways to ours here in North America. In your healthcare practice you will come across many different cultures.
If you were to travel the world even just a little bit you would discover that we do dying and death very differently from many other cultures. I have witness cremations in Bali and India that were unlike any cremation I have seen here in North America. In these two cultures death is not held as an enemy, nor something to be fought at all costs
85% of us will die in a rather non-eventful way – 15% of human deaths will be more dramatic. As a nurse you will see both. Despite the drama or lack of it there are signposts you can rely on as you witness a patient actively dying. These death processes will be discussed in detail in this module in order that you are well prepared for what you will face in your healthcare practice.
Now that you know how you handle grief, how humans tend to die, and how other cultures do it differently you have a great foundation for having those often challenging conversations with family and friends of your patient. You may be in these challenging conversations with whom ever is in the room at or around the time of death. In the module you get ample time to role-play these sorts of situations.
When death does come knocking how can you stay present when emotions, thoughts and duties are clamoring for your attention? Given you have a job to do and patient you care for dying how can you not let those precious moments of good-bye slip away unfulfilled? How can you be both a professional nurse AND a human being in these most personal moments?
If death is taboo, these types of death are even more challenging for the survivors and for you as a nurse. You will learn to appreciate the unique challenges that suicide, murder, accidents, stillbirths, and abortions miscarriages bring to your hospital rooms. We will explore how to support families dealing with them and how you can take care of yourself when these traumatic deaths occur.
In order for us to be truly helpful at the time of dying and death we need to have a look at our past experiences with dying, death, grief and loss. This is for two distinct reasons; to complete your unresolved grief; and to mine your experiences for our own grief wisdom. This module is designed to do just that.
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