Nurses’ Grief in Caring for Patients with Advanced Cancer: A Literature Review

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Feni Betriana
Waraporn Kongsuwan


This article aimed to present factors influencing nurses’ grief in caring for advanced cancer patients, consequences, and coping mechanism. A literature review was conducted through steps of creating PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome) questions, searching, apprising, analyzing, and synthesizing the evidences. Relevant literature from electronic databases (PubMed, Proquest, CINAHL, and Science Direct) were searched using the following keywords: ‘nurses’ grief’, ‘advanced cancer patient’, ‘coping management’, ‘oncology nurses’, ‘grief resolution’, ‘grief therapy’, ‘bereavement’, and ‘mourning’. Twenty one studies were selected based on the following inclusion criteria: publication date from years of 2011 to 2017, discussing about nurses’ grief, English language, full text, and academic journal. Analysis of content were done using matrix table and the articles were appraised based on recommendation of Joana Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal Tools (2016). Findings revealed several factors influencing nurses’ grief; relationships with patients, nurses’ personal factors, delivering care to the patients, institutional factors and patients’ conditions. Consequences of nurses’ grief included compassion fatigue, psychological and emotional stress, burnout, sleep disturbances, and disenfranchised grief. Coping management of grief were peer storytelling, distancing from the situation, normalization, emphasizing the positive things, and maintaining contact with the bereaved families. Results of this literature review found limited intervention to help nurses cope with their grief. Therefore, further study about the interventions to support nurses in dealing with professional grief should be designed.


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Betriana, F., & Kongsuwan, W. (2019). Nurses’ Grief in Caring for Patients with Advanced Cancer: A Literature Review. Journal of Research in Nursing-Midwifery and Health Sciences, 39(1), 138–148. Retrieved from


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