“As professionals we are never given the space to process death and loss in the workplace; we have to keep moving, never dealing with our own emotions. We have to put our sadness and feelings aside. I often ponder how medical professionals process their own feelings? How do we take care of ourselves when surrounded by death?”
Professionals in the donation and transplant space are familiar with loss. Nona Dawson-Land, liver transplant program social worker at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, wants to dissect the grief cycle to understand how deaths impact the workplace. 2023 Transplant Management Forum attendees can attend Nona’s session to learn about different types of grief, the grieving process and how to cope with the impact of a traumatic loss.
Tell us about your background.
I’m a licensed clinician who specializes in death, dying and bereavement – I have been in practice for 20 years. I started my journey in hospice work about 25 years ago. I became interested grief work after the death of my mother. My grief work has extended into my job as a liver transplant social worker for the past 11 years. I became interested in healing professionals after watching my colleagues battle with accepting death after we had losses. As professionals we are never given the space to process death and loss in the workplace; we have to keep moving, never dealing with our own emotions. We have to put our sadness and feelings aside. I often ponder how medical professionals process their own feelings? Do we have debriefing sessions? Do we understand that grief is normal? How do we take care of ourselves when surrounded by death? All these questions will be addressed in my session.
What will you be presenting about at TMF?
The title of my session is “The Grief No One Talks About – Coping with the Death and Dying of Patients, Caregivers, and Colleagues.” I will talk about how we can recognize grief, the grief cycle in general, then build up to how we process grief in the workplace. I also want to specifically talk about traumatic grief. When a death occurs suddenly, during transplantation or post-transplantation, it’s a different experience than an impending death due to long-term illness, hospice, etc. The experience of unexpected or sudden loss is called traumatic grief. We’ll discuss how to cope with the impact of this type of death along with death notification.
What are you hoping TMF attendees will learn if they attend your session?
First, I want each attendee to leave with a basic understanding of grief and traumatic grief. Second, attendees will learn how to support their colleagues in the workplace. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss setting up a “safe place” and/or a support network in their workplace.
Learn more from Nona during her session at 2023 Transplant Management Forum in Denver, Colo. Registration is now open.