Coping with Death and Dying as a CNA

Coping with Death and Dying as a CNA

Are you a CNA who is having a difficult time coping with death and dying? Is the emotional stress getting too much for you to handle? Although death and dying is a grim reality in the medical field, there are a few things you can do to relieve your stress and help you cope with it.

Let Yourself Grieve

To begin with, it is essential for you to allow yourself some time to grieve. Do not hold your emotions in. You may be a healthcare worker, but you are only human, and humans need time to grieve. When you hold your emotions inside, they will worsen over time and lengthen the healing process.

It may help to share your feelings with a family member, close friend, or co-worker. If your grief seems to be overwhelming, consider making an appointment to speak with a grief counselor or psychologist. In some cases, these types of services may even be included in your employer's health plan!

Take a Much-Needed Break

At times, the best way to recuperate from the death of a patient is to take a little time off of work. Ask your boss if you can take a few days off to clear your mind. So long as you do not make it a habit, most bosses will be happy to help you out. If you have unused vacation time, consider taking a trip out of town.

Use your time off of work to indulge in a favorite hobby, practice yoga or meditation, visit some old friends, or pamper yourself at a local spa. Your goal is to try to put work out of your mind and focus on yourself. If you have a family, take advantage of this time off and spend some quality time together.

Focus on Positive Experiences

For many CNAs today, death and dying can be extremely difficult to deal with. This is especially true if you choose to work in a hospice center or nursing home. However, you can deal with it a bit better if you understand that death may be a possibility for some patients, and if you focus on your positive experiences working with them.

Try to remember the good times you had with your patients such as the stories they told you, the games you played with them or the photos they shared with you. For patients who are still living, try to make their last days brighter by reading to them, presenting them with a special homemade card, or spending some time with them outdoors.


Coping with death and dying as a CNA can be a bit easier if you take time to grieve, pamper yourself a little, and focus on positive experiences with your patients.

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