How Internal Medicine Residents Deal with Death and Dying: a Qualitative Study of Transformational Learning and Growth
For medical trainees, the common source of work related stress, is death!
Death creates distress for medical students and residents, because they are not trained in how to manage their emotions, and their grief, when a patient dies.
The study, which includes medical residents, and recent graduates in the UAE. Don't let the location of the UAE make you feel the USA is any better. Death is death, regardless of nationality, and the way society responds to death and dying, is mostly universal, with a few exceptions.
In this study, the residents participated in transformational learning about their experiences with death and dying, and five major themes emerged, they are:
Education and Experience
The study showed, that as the residents progressed in transformational learning, they were able to improve their end-of-life (EOL) patient care!
This transformational growth enabled them to effectively care for the dying and their families.
This is profound! When medical staff also gains EOL understanding and knowledge, they are better able to support the dying, and not add to any additional suffering for all involved.
Begin now, and see the power of EOL transformational learning!
Death changes the way we view life.
Death makes clear just how precious life is.
Death changes the way we act (at least for a while).
Death is the ultimate transformative experience!
Death is powerful to those dying and those living. It helps bring into focus what is important and what is not. It shines a light on the way the dying lived life, and it is profound and life altering.
Discover through transformational learning just how important building healthy relationships with death is.
Don't wait until an illness, medical crisis, dying or death occurs. Participate in your own journey with end-of-life relationships.
Stephen Jenkinson is an amazingly wise man when it comes to death and dying.
Yes, he is outspoken, sometimes a little rough around the edges, but he's passionate about "dying wise" in a world that sees death as a failure, "an annihilation of life".
The more we become death literate, the more we see this statement as false, as death is part of life, it's natural, and of course difficult, but it is what will happen to each of us.
I hope you take the time to listen to this podcast, and then decide you want to "die wise".
When individuals and families choose to be death positive, it means the needs of the dying, or the dead, along with the family, comes first.
There are many reasons as to why being Death Positive is so important -
Most people, if they talk about it, want to experience death, dying and grief, in a healthier manner.
People also want to be more involved in the death of their loved ones, which means they want to be able to approach these life events with compassion and love.
In addition to, being Death Positive means taking a proactive role in learning as much as you can so that you can make more informed decisions.
Relieve as much anxiety as possible through a thorough, and calm, exploration of your relationship to death, so you can take time needed to outline medical and after death care wishes.
Leaving concrete and direct legal paperwork for your loved ones, reduces their anxiety, because they understand they are following up on your wants.
Take the opportunity to discover what you, and your loved ones, personal preferences and wishes are.
Take the time to discuss with loved ones, making sure they are comfortable with following through on what brings you peace and comfort.
Truly understand that by getting involved now, before a crisis, and gaining end-of-life knowledge, you are going to help ease the minds of the loved ones that are with you until the end.
What does it mean to be death positive? It means that it is NOT taboo, or morbid, to speak about death, dying and grief.
Death is 100% guaranteed, in all societies. Everyone will die. It's a fact, and one that we cannot keep ignoring.
According to "The Order of a Good Death", here are the tenets of the death positive movement:
We can begin to make a difference in our loved ones lives, if we too, are willing to become more death positive. Let's be the ripple effect of love and honor in death events.
What is death literacy? It is defined as "set of knowledge and skills that make it possible to gain access to understand, and act upon, end-of-life and death care options".
When individuals and families take the time to learn more about end-of-life (EOL) options, they are able to make medical, and non-medical, decisions (before a crisis occurs) that align with your values and wishes.
Communities that have high levels of death literacy are knowledgeable about options and how they might impact their loved ones, which then helps to make informed choices that we align with quality of life and care and compassionate care when dying.
The more we know, the better decisions we can make for ourselves and our loved ones.
Death touches all of us. None of us are immune, and no one will escape death.
But when someone is dying, or has died, we often approach these experiences with little or unhelpful knowledge from past experiences.
It doesn't have to be this way, as we can gather and learn to "do death differently". We can discuss fears and anxieties, while gaining new perspectives and knowledge to experience these profound events with love and compassion.
We can learn more about death, dying and grief, so that we can become more literate, thus reducing the anxieties and fears about end-of-life. This understanding can help us reduce stress and unnecessary medical interventions and approach life, and death, experiences with honor and respect.
Together, we can become death literate and transform our relationships with death, dying and grief.
First, we are all mortal, and none of us will live forever.
Second, based on the first, we will all die. I know this sentence seems harsh and aggressive, but it is the truth.
The other truth is that we need to talk about death because it is a normal part of each of our lives. It is not morbid, it is natural. It's not macabre, it's just unfamiliar, which brings fear and anxiety to these topics.
The more we talk, learn and explore death and dying, the less frightening these become and the more natural it feels because we become more familiar with it, and the emotions that often accompany these experiences.
Feelings too, are also very natural and normal with death, dying and grief. The more we share, with those that are able to receive openly, the more we feel connected in these often difficult times.
Engaging often in these conversations will help to bring ease and comfort, not only to you, but those dying and those that are supporting the dying.
Think of the "ripple effect" you can bring to these profound experiences when your hard work of end-of-life exploration can bring love and peace, to both life, and death.
Death is the only common denominator that all humans have with each other. It is a 100% guaranteed, with no escape clauses and no buyouts.
Yet, many of us have not openly participated in conversations about End-of-Life (EOL). For most, death conversations are normally avoided because they are still thought of as morbid or taboo.
However, when we avoid talking about death, we deny ourselves the opportunities to raise our own awareness, sharing fears and anxieties and honing in on what EOL wishes and desires bring us the most comfort.
Starting now, and not waiting until one is diagnosed or dying is near, allows us and our loved ones to take the time needed to discuss and honor decisions that best align with our values and morals.