Although many health care professions such as doctors, nurses, pathologists, forensic examiners, morticians, police officers, EMT’s, combat medics deal with the physiological aspects of death and dying, oftentimes the social aspects of this unavoidable event is not well discussed. Psychological and sociological impacts also occur because of physical deaths.  This exercise is NOT TO DISCOURAGE YOU from becoming a professional in these fields! These are extremely useful topics to consider as you are gaining your educational steps to become the best you can be in these fields.

  1. Discuss some of the non-biological knowledge items you might need as a person that is helping an individual or family cope with death.
  2. Describe these important topics. This should be the bulk of your paper (about a full page or more) and your observations/perceptions of these after doing your research. Describe the concept and then add your personal perspective of these topics.
  • Clinical Distance
  • Empathy
  • Spirituality, individual faith vs patient faith
  • Compassion fatigue
  • Long-term illness vs sudden and unexpected death of clients
  • Secondary victimization of first responders/health professionals
  • Perceptions of clients/family of healthcare workers (Can you save everyone?)
  • Addiction/alcoholism etc as a job hazard
  1. How do you intend on maintaining your professional distance while referring families to sociologists, psychologists or other health professional to assist in the grief counseling, etc? Discuss some coping skills that may become options for you or your peers in the future. The following is a list of suggested resources, however, please customize to fit you or your profession. This part can be brief as you may already know or will discover more on your journey become a professional in your chosen career field. Word count should be about 500 (half page at 10 font, single-spaced) not less than 400 words.
  • Grief counseling
  • Exercise
  • Religious studies/cultural norms
  • Peer support or group gatherings
  • Recognizing addictive or destructive coping mechanisms
  1. What do your professors/mentors advise to avoid compassion fatigue or becoming too emotionally involved in your cases? How do you not become the “doctor in the family” or the one that has all the answers for patient’s families? If you don’t have the answers to these difficult questions, compile a list of questions that you can ask your professors to answer as you continue your education. Interview or ask a mentor or trusted professor or professional what they do or recommend to maintain their mental health?  Provide references from scholarly journals, professional organizations, interviewee, or the textbook to support your thought processes. Word count: 250 – 500 words.
  2. Wrap up this highly personalized topic with a brief description of what you learned vs what you thought these meant before writing this project. What, if any, additional steps will you take after this report? After all you have learned from this course, what is your take-away? Did this report affirm or distract you from your goal in the helping professions? This paragraph should be brief as well.  Word count: 150 – 250.


Health profession/first responder considerations