Living amongst death: The constructions of bereavement and burnout in hospice nurses

Christina Ann Tempesta (2003)

This is a phenomenological investigation of the possible connection between the constructs of bereavement and burnout in hospice staff. This study is guided by the existential paradigm and, more specifically, construct theory. It is thought that recurring contact with the terminally ill impacts one's thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Therefore, does the chronic loss faced by hospice workers contribute in any way to symptoms of burnout? This data was gathered through ten semi-structured interviews and informed by the literature. Additionally, a brief demographic form that contained a bereavement and burnout scale was utilized as means to further analyze the data. This study examined the following: existential issues, such as death anxiety; issues of bereavement, including anticipatory grief and nature of loss; issues of occupational stress, such as factors of burnout; and professional supports. Each issue is introduced as a means of bringing clarity and definition to the phenomena of bereavement and burnout. The information gathered holds implications for the training of and interventions with hospice staff.