Coping strategies used by nurses to deal with the care of organ donors and their families

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OBJECTIVETo identify the different types and numbers of coping strategies used by nurses who care for organ donors and their families during the anticipation, confrontation, and postconfrontation stages of the organ donation process.DESIGNQualitative study.SETTINGThe home or work facility constituted the setting for the interviews. The nurses were employed in a neurologic intensive care unit (NICU) at 2 hospitals involved in organ retrieval in eastern Canada.PARTICIPANTSSeventeen nurses who had provided care to organ and tissue donors in neurologic intensive care units.RESULTSThe coping strategies that were used changed in number and type as the 3 stages of the organ donation process unfolded. Exercising control over their emotions, distancing themselves, and taking time-out were the most frequently used during these respective stages.CONCLUSIONSTo assist nurses in providing care to the donors and their families, nurses may benefit from having access to a clinical nurse specialist; receiving more education in the areas of grief, crisis interventions, stress, and coping theories; and having opportunities to participate in debriefing sessions or to attend a workshop to exchange feelings and to learn more effective ways of providing care. (Heart Lung[R] 1998;27:230-7)

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