Why Alive in Death Training for health care providers you may well ask.
Hi, my name is Stephen Garrett, and I am the founder of Alive in Death. You can find my writing's on We Can Die Better - a blog exploring about death and dying.
During my brother’s six-year walk with cancer I spent a bit of time in and around hospitals and I was curious about the type of training nurses and health care providers got regarding, dying, death, grief and loss. Much to my surprise I discovered from many of them, both new to nursing and health care and veterans in the field, that formal training in this area was minimal and usually picked up on the fly so to speak.
I spent a fair bit of time with our four nurse mentors and realized that we are setting our health care providers up for failure by not including dying, death, grief and self-care training. That this lack of training was resulting in many nurses and health care providers leaving emotionally or actually leaving the profession.
When I watched nurses and health care providers working with my brother I noticed they were really good at the medical stuff and not so good at the human relationship stuff as it pertained to his prognosis and likely untimely death. I saw them struggle with what to say and as I spoke with them one on one I learned they had little or no self-care practices to help them deal with all other areas such as that they were experiencing in the chemo unit.
I checked with nurses in maternity, pediatrics, and x-ray departments and saw how often in these less death-oriented area of nursing death did show up and was even less well handled. It didn’t matter where I looked nurses were generally ill equipped to deal with dying, death and their emotional responses to this very often witnessed life experience called death.
I was upset by what I saw both for me and my needs as a potential future patient but more for very real needs of nurses to be well prepared for dying and death which they will see lots more of as the baby boomers roughly a third of our population pass on over the next 10 to 20 years.
So the four nurse mentors and I created Alive in Death – Training and Self Care for Health Care Providers.