CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 22

Professional Grief Personal Feelings/Professional Face: The Hidden Grief of the Helping Professional BY ELIZABETH J. CLARK, PhD, MSW, MPH "We don't generally characterize the deaths of our patients as personal losses, but that doesn't mean we aren't affected by them." 22 CMSA TODAY N o matter how committed we are to our work in the helping professions, witnessing suffering is difficult, and it changes us in many ways. If we work in-high loss environments, like hospitals, hospices or nursing homes, we confront multiple and continuous losses of patients and residents. While these deaths may be expected, and while we do our best to alleviate suffering and to assure a death with dignity, we are still moved by the losses and by the sadness of family and friends who are grieving for their loved ones. We don't generally characterize the deaths of our patients as personal losses, but that doesn't mean we aren't affected by them. Instead, we may experience a form of unrecognized grief, sometimes referred to as professional grief. Issue 5 * 2016 * DIGITAL Professional grief differs from personal grief in numerous ways. First, we are distant mourners. As professionals, and not loved ones, our grief is not sanctioned. In fact, we are trained to keep our emotions and personal feelings under control, to always present a professional face. Professional grief doesn't include the usual symptomatology of the acute grief process. We may express initial sadness, but our professional roles require us to move on. Therefore, we internalize the grief we feel. It becomes hidden. There is no natural outlet for it, and it goes unexpressed. As a result, professional grief may accumulate, and it may become bereavement overload. In high-loss work situations, bereavement overload can lead to a legacy of vulnerability, a lack of personal-professional balance,

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016

President's Letter: Leading Through Change
Immediate Past President's Letter: Risks, Challenges and Progress
Association News
CMSA Corporate Partners
Normalizing End-of-Life Care with Rich Conversations
Personal Feelings/Professional Face: The Hidden Grief of the Helping Professional
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - cover1
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - cover2
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 3
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 4
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 5
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - President's Letter: Leading Through Change
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 7
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 8
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - Immediate Past President's Letter: Risks, Challenges and Progress
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 10
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 11
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - Association News
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 13
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - CMSA Corporate Partners
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 15
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - Normalizing End-of-Life Care with Rich Conversations
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 17
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 18
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 19
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 20
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 21
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - Personal Feelings/Professional Face: The Hidden Grief of the Helping Professional
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 23
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 24
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 25
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 26
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - 28
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - cover3
CMSA Today - Issue 5, 2016 - cover4
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1412
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1312
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1212
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1411
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1311
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1211
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ0111
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CMSQ1111
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com