Grief Work for Health Care Providers


Are you experiencing burn out? Compassion fatigue? High stress due to an intensely paced vocation where trauma, sadness, and loss are ever present?

This course is open to all nurses, doctors, residence, health care staff, and those on the frontlines of care. How do you hold space for the grief encountered in your work? How do you hold space for your own sorrow?

*Institute and INELDA members receive 50% off of the tuition for this course and pay $150.
Contact Amy for payment information if you are an INELDA or Institute member.*



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Why grief work for health care providers?

As health care providers, we are called to support individuals through recovery, healing, and health.

Yet, we inevitably also hold space for disease, relapse, illness, and death.

How do we process and interpret experiences of loss?

How does the profound experience of holding space for heartache, grief, and sorrow  ~ encountered daily ~ impact our own lives?

How can we engage with grief work in a way that enriches and nourishes?

The questions above are amplified in a time of the Covid-19 pandemic. And yet, even without such a pandemic, they are central to a wise and compassionate approach to supporting our health care workers on both personal and professional levels.

For the first time, Amy Wright Glenn ~ hospital chaplain, author, and birth/death doula ~ joins forces with Nicole Heidbreder ~ RN, birth/death doula trainer, and Clinical Instructor with the Johns Hopkins University Birth Companions Program ~ to offer a 4-week course that supports all health care workers in their grief work.

We gather live for four 2-hour modules ~ co-taught by Amy and Nicole ~ on the following Wednesdays:

May 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th

11am to 1pm EST

Note, if you can’t join us live, no worries. All participants will receive recording links to the module sessions. One need not join live to enroll and participate. 

Grief Work for Health Care Providers topics include:

Module One ~ Defining grief in an overburdened health care system. Amy and Nicole will focus on burnout, grief, loss. What is grief and how does grief show up on the job? In one’s personal life? How are specific stresses, like the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting and complicating the prior experience of compassion fatigue often characteristic of health care work? Amy and Nicole will provide statistics, a comprehensive framework of understanding, and lead participants through a self-assessment meditation wherein individuals can more clearly assess their baseline energy and how grief and overwhelm have transformed their work and life.

Module Two ~ Exploring and nourishing sustainable empathy. Amy and Nicole will examine various definitions of empathy and highlight how the energy of heart-to-heart connection can be nourished. Empathy is the foundation for compassion. How to ensure that empathy survives times of chronic stress ~ and how to integrate practices that strengthen our capacity to hold space, with empathy, as we work? Finally, what suggestions for health care systems exist to strengthen the foundational supports to ensure health care providers don’t numb out, leave the field due to compassion-fatigue or attrition? How to implement policies that nurture and support empathy?

Module Three ~ Showing up with compassion vs. compounded numbing. Building upon Module 2, Amy and Nicole will continue to explore sustainable models of compassion, especially in high stress environments. Can one show up for others in crisis after crisis without becoming numb? How does compounded numbing ~ a term that will be explored ~ impacting our collective experience of health care? Amy and Nicole will lead participants through an examination of mindfulness exercises that help recharge an overwhelmed physiology ~ starting first with compassion for one’s self.

Module Four ~ Transforming suffering and cultivating courage. In the final module, Amy and Nicole will lead participants through a series of inquiries that enable individuals to “re-open the heart” and find ways to transform their own personal and professional suffering. As we transform our suffering ~ “turn our pain into medicine” as the poet Rumi once wrote ~ we become beacons of courage in difficult times. We inspire others to cultivate their courage as they navigate the unknown. We draw upon the ancestral wisdom of health care providers who ennoble us with their example. We become what we can be ~ both personally and professionally.


“All healing is first a healing of the heart.”  ~ Carl Townsend


Nicole Heidbreder works as a Labor and Delivery and Hospice Nurse in the Washington DC area and has been attending births as a doula for over 15 years here in DC, NYC, San Francisco, Sumatra, Bali, and Uganda.  Currently she also facilitates independent birth doula workshops and trains nursing students as a Clinical Instructor with the Johns Hopkins University Birth Companions Program.  Additionally, she teaches End of Life Doula Workshops for the International End of Life Doula Association (  Through her work in clinical nursing education Nicole was proudly inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honors Society as a Leader in the field of Nursing and she sits on the George Washington University Hospital Ethics Committee. To find out more.