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Nursing: The Five Stages of Grief

Who is the nurse theorist we associate with the five stages of grief?

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Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is the nurse scholar identified with the five stages of grief. She intended to learn what the patients were contemplating while they were dying. With her first-hand study, she developed the famous five-stage theory popularly known as the “Kübler-Ross Model.”

The five stages of grief and the manifestations that we would expect to see with each one.

The five phases of the model assert that a sequence of five emotions is experienced by those undergoing grieving. This includes denial, anger or rage, bargaining or compromise, depression or anxiety, and acceptance or acknowledgment. In a denial stage, rather than being overcome by sorrow, people dismiss and fail to embrace it, and at some point, the sadness accelerates its full effect on the individuals. When one is in denial, their minds and bodies are considered to be in shock, and they cannot comprehend what happened. Regarding anger, it is the moment when the victim realizes that what is happening is real (Mahmood, 2016). They may then blame others for their sorrow, and turn their frustration to close friends and relatives.

During the bargaining stage, the person begins to make agreements with the world, which may wrongly lead them to believe they can escape grief through some negotiation. Depression is an adequate form of grief; it reflects emptiness, sorrow, and despair. The last phase is acceptance, which commences when the affected person is finally tolerable with the incident (Pastan, 2017). Acceptance means reconciling oneself to reality and embracing it. During grief, humans spend varying periods experiencing each phase and demonstrating different emotions at each point. Nevertheless, many people do not have the advantage of the time needed to reach the final phase of grieving.

Are the five stages of grief considered to be a healthy coping mechanism?

The five phases of grieving should be considered healthy since it is natural for an individual to feel denial, frustration, compromise, anxiety, and acceptance when one loses somebody they care about. A loved one’s death is perhaps the most traumatic occurrence of life and can trigger a significant emotional crisis. The five stages of grief may become unhealthful if the person sticks on a certain stage for too long. For instance, being depressed for a prolonged period can lead to depressive disorder.

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What can nursing do to help support the families and clients during this time?

The best action a nurse can take is to listen to the patient’s desires during their grief-stricken period. The nurse must help the patient, and the family and friends to endure their sorrow. The nurses are required to promote faith by showing compassion and caring. Respecting the patient’s traditions and beliefs by providing support and reassurance is essential. This can be achieved by being honest with the victims and engaging them in active listening and helping them identify their emotions, such as rage, anxiety, alienation, and guilt. Discussing the client’s past losses and the manner they dealt with them is an effective way of helping them start accepting reality. The healthcare professional should encourage all the affected, including family members, to take care of their welfare.

How do we provide our clients with dignity in dying?

In providing self-esteem during the dying time, a nurse should ensure that a client’s self-respect in dying governs their pain and comfort. These may involve repositioning the deteriorating patients when they cannot change the position themselves, and preserving their hygiene when they are unable to do it. It is important to speak to the dying client and clarify their measures to protect their privacy. By doing all these tasks, the nurse respects the victims’ wishes and offers them the dignity and peaceful death they had wished for.


Mahmood, K. (2016). Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross stages of dying and phenomenology of grief. Annals of King Edward Medical University, 12(2), 232–233. Web.

Pastan, L. (2017). The five stages of grief. Academic Medicine, 92(7), 956. Web.

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