The burden of grief: A scoping review of nurses' and physicians' experiences throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

Death Stud. 2024 Jan 27:1-10. doi: 10.1080/07481187.2024.2306461. Online ahead of print.


Coping with loss is an unfortunate reality faced by healthcare professionals, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this challenge for those who worked on the frontlines. Our scoping review aimed to comprehensively map the existing literature pertaining to the experiences of grief among nurses and physicians in the context of the pandemic. Six bibliographic databases were searched in 2022, and a targeted search of gray literature and citation chasing was also performed. After screening a total of 2920 records, we included 173 evidence sources in this review. Data was both analyzed descriptively (e.g., frequency counts and percentages) and using a qualitative content analysis approach. Our findings illuminate the myriad losses experienced by nurses and physicians throughout the pandemic. While the literature portrays the coping mechanisms healthcare professionals have developed personally, there is a pronounced need for increased institutional support to alleviate the burdens they carry.