Personal bereavement and Registered General Nurses
The purpose of the study was to 'examine the idea that the processes of normal grieving can be impaired or complicated by virtue of an individual being a nurse or midwife'. A mixed methodology was utilised to allow data to be collected at both exploratory and descriptive levels, and to provide reinforcement via the triangulation of data relating to key concepts, derived from a variety of methods. At the exploratory level, the study examined the incidence of factors said to predispose towards complicated grief (Murray-Parkes 1972), within a population of nurses and midwives. This alongside consideration of factors within the socialising environment of hospital nurse/midwifery, which might engender or reinforce certain personality traits. The study also investigated the respondents' views on their role within their family. Interviews with bereaved nurses and midwives, then explored the implications of these traits and norms of behaviour, for those who had actually experienced the death of a loved one. This provided data at the level of description, as relationships between identified concepts were examined.In the event, the data suggested that certain predisposing factors to complicated grief: a 'coper' self-concept; a strong sense of personal independence from others; and a perceived lack of functional social support, both at home and at work, were prevalent within the group studied. They also indicated a range of difficulties which may arise when nurses and midwives become consumers of the services they usually provide, and the related problem(s) of being the 'family nurse'. Interviews with bereaved nurses and midwives, then identified how one or more of these issues can impact upon the experience of family hospitalisation, and ensuing bereavement, to the detriment of individual nurses and midwives - particularly by predisposing them to delayed onset of their grief, perhaps for months or even years.