Death anxiety among emergency care workers
Intended for healthcare professionals
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Death anxiety among emergency care workers

Mike Brady Doctoral research student, Swansea University, Open University, South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

Mike Brady explains why emergency nurses, paramedics and other urgent care staff can experience thanatophobia, and how its signs and symptoms can be recognised

Death anxiety, or ‘thanatophobia’, is a state in which people experience negative emotional reactions in recognition of their own mortality. Emergency and unscheduled healthcare workers, such as emergency nurses and paramedics, are constantly reminded of death and therefore of their own mortality, and this makes them susceptible to death anxiety. This article introduces the concept of death anxiety, and highlights the need for staff, employers and universities to recognise its signs and symptoms. It also suggests some interventions that could prevent the debilitating effects of death anxiety, to improve staff’s mental health and the care they provide to patients.

Emergency Nurse. 23, 4, 32-37. doi: 10.7748/en.23.4.32.e1448


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 18 April 2015

Accepted: 02 June 2015

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