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Article

A Continuing Educational Program Supporting Health Professionals to Manage Grief and Loss

1
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 1R8, Canada
2
de Souza Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, ON M5T 1R8, Canada
3
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 1R8, Canada
4
College of Professional Studies, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Curr. Oncol. 2022, 29(3), 1461-1474; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol29030123
Received: 22 December 2021 / Revised: 20 February 2022 / Accepted: 24 February 2022 / Published: 27 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Mental Health and Well-Being of Oncology Providers)
Health professionals working in oncology face the challenge of a stressful work environment along with impacts of providing care to those suffering from a life-threatening illness and encountering high levels of patient loss. Longitudinal exposure to loss and suffering can lead to grief, which over time can lead to the development of compassion fatigue (CF). Prevalence rates of CF are significant, yet health professionals have little knowledge on the topic. A six-week continuing education program aimed to provide information on CF and support in managing grief and loss and consisted of virtual sessions, case-based learning, and an online community of practice. Content included personal, health system, and team-related risk factors; protective variables associated with CF; grief models; and strategies to help manage grief and loss and to mitigate against CF. Participants also developed personal plans. Pre- and post-course evaluations assessed confidence, knowledge, and overall satisfaction. A total of 189 health professionals completed the program (90% nurses). Reported patient loss was high (58.8% > 10 deaths annually; 12.2% > 50). Improvements in confidence and knowledge across several domains (p < 0.05) related to managing grief and loss were observed, including use of grief assessment tools, risk factors for CF, and strategies to mitigate against CF. Satisfaction level post-program was high. An educational program aiming to improve knowledge of CF and management of grief and loss demonstrated benefit. View Full-Text
Keywords: grief and loss; compassion fatigue; resilience; burnout; educational program; health professionals grief and loss; compassion fatigue; resilience; burnout; educational program; health professionals
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MDPI and ACS Style

Esplen, M.J.; Wong, J.; Vachon, M.L.S.; Leung, Y. A Continuing Educational Program Supporting Health Professionals to Manage Grief and Loss. Curr. Oncol. 2022, 29, 1461-1474. https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol29030123

AMA Style

Esplen MJ, Wong J, Vachon MLS, Leung Y. A Continuing Educational Program Supporting Health Professionals to Manage Grief and Loss. Current Oncology. 2022; 29(3):1461-1474. https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol29030123

Chicago/Turabian Style

Esplen, Mary Jane, Jiahui Wong, Mary L. S. Vachon, and Yvonne Leung. 2022. "A Continuing Educational Program Supporting Health Professionals to Manage Grief and Loss" Current Oncology 29, no. 3: 1461-1474. https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol29030123

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