Calls for Stories

Grieving on the Job: Stories from Healthcare Providers

Symposium Editor: Erin Bakanas

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish a collection of personal stories from healthcare providers who have personally experienced grieving on the job. People working in healthcare often deal with death, dying, tragic outcomes or other significant losses as part of their job. Healthcare providers often work in busy and challenging environments that can make dealing with grief effectively even more difficult. Talking with colleagues about grief can be awkward. Healthcare providers may feel hesitant to do so because they fear judgment or the perception that they are weak or unprofessional; however, talking about grief can reduce distress, and increase wellbeing and job satisfaction.     

We seek stories from healthcare providers with first-hand experience grieving on the job. We are interested in stories that involve experiencing grief due to death, dying, tragic outcomes or other significant losses that happened with a patient. Please share this invitation and guide sheet with appropriate individuals.

In writing your story, please consider these questions:

  • What event occurred that caused you grief?
  • How did you respond to this grief? What were the effects of your response? How did your response impact the quality of your work?
  • How did past experiences inform your actions in this instance?
  • If you spoke to others about your grief, how did they respond? What was helpful about their response? What was not helpful?
  • What have you done to cope with your grief? How was this helpful? What could have been improved?
  • How would you advise someone faced with a similar situation?

You do not need to address each of these questions—write on the issues that you think are most important to share with others. If you are not a writer, tell your story in your own words and our editorial staff will help you.

If you are interested in submitting a story, we ask you first to submit a 300-word proposal—a short description of the story you want to tell. Inquiries or proposals should be sent to the editorial office via email We will give preference to story proposals received by December 11, 2023. We plan to publish 12 stories (4 – 10 double-spaced pages or 800 – 2000 words) on this topic. Some additional stories may be published as online-only supplemental material. We also publish 3 – 4 commentary articles that discuss the stories and explore constructive changes to the healthcare system that are published in the journal. To see a finished symposium find a free access issue here:

For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics and to read the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies, visit our webpage at