counseling, countertransference, empathy, grief, nurses, spirituality, stress



  1. Chiera-Lyle, Maria MN, RN, CNN(c)
  2. Arshinoff, Rabbi Rena MHSc, MAHL, BA, RN


Nurses bring professional knowledge and personal experience to their work. Sometimes they relate to patients because of similar situations they have experienced themselves. One of the challenges nurses face is separating out the situation of their patients from their own incidents that seem very familiar. Although nurses are trained to keep their own emotional responses detached from the work they do, they sometimes unconsciously identify with the emotions they witness in their patients and families. When situations our patients face mirror our personal lives, nurses and professional caregivers may not recognize the impact they have on them. The spiritual care professional supports staff with the awareness that nurses are also human themselves with their own personal challenges and accompanying emotions. There is great potential for nurses to obtain spiritual support as they strive to provide optimum care to patients as they deal with their own challenges. This article highlights the experience of a nurse and a spiritual care professional who helped her to identify the parallel between her patient's situation and that of her own and the spiritual and emotional growth that emerged on both a personal and a professional level.