I'm Sorry For Your Loss

grief support what to say Feb 08, 2020

"I'm Sorry For Your Loss".

How often have you said the words, "I'm sorry for your loss" in hopes of consoling a grieving person?  How often have you heard those words, as you faced unimaginable grief?  Did hearing "I'm sorry for your loss" comfort you?  Did you feel understood and supported?

These days it seems the universal thing to say to someone grieving the death of a loved one are those 5 words. But, when that phrase is used without emotion or real empathy it sounds empty, and awkward, and ignores the real pain that grief bestows on someone.  Saying "I'm sorry for your loss" does more to make the person sharing the words feel better than comforting the person who is in need.

When someone has experienced the death of a friend or loved one, be honest, don't ignore their pain, don't be afraid to say you don't know what to say!  That revelation is more authentic and appreciated than "I'm sorry for your loss".

I've had two friends die in the past few months...

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Where Have All The Nurses Gone?

I’ve had a very busy summer consulting with hospices all across the US. In talking with administrators about their biggest worries, I heard one alarm sounded everywhere I went: Hospice is in the grip of a critical nursing shortage. Certainly, in some areas the problem is greater than in others, but make no mistake; recruiting the ideal experienced, compassionate, smart, flexible and dedicated hospice nurse (or social worker, for that matter) is more challenging by the day. As a board member of the University of Florida College of Nursing’s Alumni Council, I can tell you that the school cannot afford to admit more than 120 new undergraduates/year. The University of Delaware College of Nursing admits 136. Numbers like these will not begin to meet the burgeoning needs of the Baby Boomer generation as they age.

And it’s not just that new nurses aren’t entering the field at the rate we need them to; we’re losing those we have, nurses who are leaving the...

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When Nurses "Eat Their Young"

Have you heard the term "nurses eat their young"? Generally, that phrase describes the rough treatment new nurses are subjected to by more experienced peers when we enter the profession, but sometimes in my work I’ve seen it used as a management style. It’s counterproductive, it’s damaging, it undermines both the worker and the work – and it needs to stop.

I'm not sure what it is about some nurses or supervisors who believe that continually focusing on what people do wrong will motivate an improvement in skills or behavior. Perhaps it is the scientific perfectionist in them that has no tolerance for mistakes. Maybe that’s the way they themselves were disciplined or trained, so it’s the only management style they know. For myself, I know I’ve always learned best when I've been encouraged - even when I made a mistake - rather than berated for what I did wrong. I believe that’s true of most of us.

I’m not suggesting that stern...

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