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Greek nurse and physician grief as a result of caring for children dying of cancer

Publication year
Papadatou, D.; Bellali, T.; Papazoglou, I.; Petraki, D.

This descriptive study explored and compared the grief responses and experiences of Greek physicians and nurses who provide care to children dying of cancer. Interviews were conducted with 14 oncologists and 16 pediatric oncology nurses. Data were subjected to a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis. For both groups, the dying process and death of children were highly stressful experiences and triggered a grieving process. Differences, however, were observed in terms of the way these two groups (a) perceived the loss of the child and (b) expressed or avoided their grief. It became apparent that health professionals’ grieving process was affected by how they perceived their role, interventions, and contribution in the care of the dying child, which in turn was influenced by the social and cultural context in which care is provided to children with cancer. Findings suggest that despite the distress caused by children’s death, both nurses and physicians identified specific rewards they reaped from caring for children who are terminally ill.

Research abstracts