I am a Forensic Investigator and deal with handling the dead and have to unhappy task of notifying the next-of-kin of the death. Although there are several types of death cases from the unexpected ER death to the inpt of a death at the hospital, notification is always the hardest thing to do.
Always use compassion and treat the family the way you would want to be treated. It can be helpful to you to talk to your co-workers after the involvement of dealing with a child.
Several things to take in your career as a Nurse is the rule of thumb is NEVER tell a family member "I know how you feel"
mainly because you do not know how they feel. Even if you lost a family member, you can not tell another family how they feel. I deal with many SID cases (sudden infant death syndrome) and seen ER nurses mess up and say they know how the parent (s) feels and the family will lash out and take their frustration and anger out on you real fast.
Grief has a process and the normal order is
A. denial: They do not accept it or believe the death happened
B. Anger: They lash out...example:How many times did I tell him not to ride that bike without a helmet!
C: Confusin: what do I do now??
D. Acceptance: very gradual and family support needed
I reccomend that you provide emotional support and offer the family the services of pastoral care or social services.
No two notifications are the same as no two deaths are the same. Use common sense and utilize your skills as a nurse to help emotional support.
I always tell the ER staff as well as the law enforcement and EMS that it is ok to cry afterwards, but be strong for the families first. Trust me, in the 30,000 plus cases that I have dealt with over the past 20 years, I got plenty of tears and not afraid to say I still get upset. I can say I make a difference to the families as the spotlight is on them and not me. They need the support of you and you can seek the support of your co-workers later.
Good answers from everyone on this!
((((( hugs)))) go a long way