Home > Coping with death and grief as a healthcare worker.

Health Service Executive. (2022) Coping with death and grief as a healthcare worker.

External website: https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/mental-health/heathc...

People who work in healthcare settings often deal with death, dying and bereavement as part of their job. Working in settings where you are exposed to death does not make it easier to manage grief. You may not 'get used to' death and dying. But you can find effective ways to cope with your grief.

Professional grief and personal grief
You can experience both:

  • personal grief - when someone in your personal life or community dies
  • professional grief - when someone at work dies, this could be a colleague, patient or client

Coping with personal grief after bereavement or loss

Employee assistance programmes (EAP) offer support for both personal and work-related issues.

Find information on supports

Dealing with death and dying at work
You may often work in a busy and challenging environment.

Sometimes you may set aside your emotions to be able to help others or work under pressure. But it’s important to look after yourself as well as others when you are affected by a death. It is OK to grieve.

It can help to give yourself time to:

  • acknowledge the death
  • allow yourself to feel sadness and other emotions
  • acknowledge the help and support you gave the person who died and their family
  • talk about the death and how you feel with someone you trust
  • ask for support if you need it
  • identify healthy ways to cope and look after your mental health

Eating well, limiting alcohol, and getting enough sleep and exercise helps your physical and mental health.

Be kind and patient with yourself. There is no right or wrong way to feel or react after a bereavement or loss. Everyone copes with grief in different ways....

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