Methods: The phenomenon of “the grief experience of nursing faculty following the sudden unanticipated death of a student ” lacks both exploration and description in nursing literature. An understanding of this experience has failed to be elucidated in nursing education, warranting a need to explore this understudied phenomenon. As Field and Morse (1985) stated, “qualitative methods should be used …when the research question pertains to understanding or describing a particular event about which little is known” (p.11). Phenomenology as a qualitative research method, seeks to describe and unfold a phenomenon before the eyes of the researcher and reader so the essence of the participant’s narratives can be experienced and understood (Munhall, 1994). This approach was the most suitable method of inquiry for studying the richness and complexity of bereavement. By utilizing the phenomenological method of inquiry rooted in Husserl’s philosophy and data analysis as described by Paul Colaizzi (1978), the researcher will obtain a full description and understanding of the essence of this experience.
Results: The source of qualitative data included a demographic questionnaire and in-depth interviews with each participant. Interviews were digitally recorded, and verbatim transcriptions were analyzed utilizing the seven-step Colaizzi’s (1978) method. Findings of this study support contemporary models of grief and bereavement. Researcher will explore the unique aspects of grief that emerged for nursing faculty.
Conclusions: This study yields a rich understanding of the grief experience of nursing faculty, while providing insights for policy development and supportive interventions for students, faculty and college administrators.