Nurse Suicide: Breaking the SilencePage 5 of 10

3. Searching for Answers

Networking with Colleagues

After direct experience with nurse suicide, the authors networked with local and national professional colleagues, collecting anecdotes confirming that others had experienced nurse suicides, either personally or through work responsibilities. We even found one case example while conducting research on the impact of blame in the workplace [16]. From this, we learned that the incidents were not isolated to our organizations.

Others had experienced similarly tragic losses of colleagues, but no one offered suggestions of best practices in suicide prevention or nurse suicide grief recovery. We attempted to find information about the incidence of nurse suicide through inquiries to human resources and risk management departments, boards of registered nursing, the American Nurses Association, and the California Board of Registered Nursing.

To our surprise, none of these organizations collected or reported information about nurse suicide. Other than the testimonies of single events recalled from memory and the one published case study, we found no examples of processes to prevent, cope with, or deal with nurse suicide. Therefore, despite knowledge that nurse suicide exists, we concluded, as others had before us, that the occurrence of nurse suicide was shrouded in silence, avoidance, and denial [13].