The aim of this piece of work will be to describe, analyse and evaluate what role the staff nurse holds in the effective management of the care of the bereaved person. Throughout the author will relate this to the bereavement of a family following the death of a loved one in a care of the elderly setting. In relation to this assignment and because the focus of this assignment is on the staff nurse effectively managing the care of the bereaved person the author will focus on the issue of the importance of good leadership in supporting staff in what could be an emotionally challenging environment. In relation to supporting the staff nurse being able to provide effective care for the patient the author will also be considering the areas of teambuilding and staff development, training and support. It should be remembered that bereavement may occur not just after a death but after any form of loss. Loss is a normal part of everyday life, life involves change and changes often involve an element of loss, (Read, 2002).
What is bereavement?
Shakespeare once wrote “all that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity”.
Death is one of the largest causes of bereavement, although not exclusively. Bereavement is the term used for the emotions and behaviours felt and displayed by a person who has suffered some form of loss, particularly the death of a person close to them or known to them, (Egan, 2003).
Coping with bereavement
Coping with the emotions and behaviours of a family who have been bereaved can be extremely stressful. If you have cared for a patient over a period of time and have come to know them and their family well it can be hard not to feel some degree of emotional involvement. Trying to cope with a bereaved family can bring on feelings of inadequacy and lead to stress, (Kenworthy, Snowley and Gilling, 2002).
It is in this type of situation that the environment you work in becomes very important. To feel supported and to help you cope a good working environment is essential. A good working environment is when your colleagues support you and each other, when time is allocated for team building and team meetings, and sessions are held for debriefing and discussion after difficult issues have arisen, (Kenworthy, et al, 2002).
A healthy work environment must offer the concepts of honesty, dignity, integrity and compassion as well as allowing the development of open, trusting and mutually respectful relationships. Nurse leaders and managers can create, maintain and are responsible for this environment that will facilitate the effective practice of the professional staff nurse, (Huber, 2000).
Leadership can be defined as the process of influencing people to accomplish goals. Hersey, Blanchard and Johnson (1996) as cited by Huber (2000) define leadership as the process of influencing the activities of individuals or groups in an effort to achieve goals in any given situation, (Huber, 2000, p50).
To be a good leader it is imperative to understand that there is no single leadership style that is correct for every situation or every person, (Jinker, 1999).
It is considered that there are three leadership styles: Authoritarian, where generally the leader tells the followers what to do, Democratic, where the leader shares the responsibility and involves the followers in the decision making process, and Laissez-faire, where there is a minimum of participation from the leader who avoids interference and allows events to take their own course, (Huber, 2000).
Hersey and Blanchard (1982) developed the situational leadership theory in the late 1970’s. This theory suggests that there is no single leadership style that is best but that it is the individual’s ability to adapt their leadership style to the situation that will determine how effective they are as a leader, (McNichol, 2000).
This theory was further developed and in 1996 Hersey, Blanchard and Johnston...
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