Working with the dying can be rewarding

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Experiencing death and dying every day does not negatively affect caregivers who work in hospice or palliative care settings, new research indicates.

In fact, these healthcare professionals contend they have a better understanding of the meaning of life, according to a Canadian study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Investigators talked with workers from five palliative or hospice care centers across Canada to find out if working with such weighty issues had a negative impact on the workers' personal lives. The researchers thought the workers' feedback could be beneficial to others.

Hospice workers reported that working with dying individuals helped them find more meaning in their own lives.

“Although the end of life is arguably the most challenging phase of life, it may also be the most meaningful, providing hope to those who are living with an incurable illness as well as individuals who will inevitably face their mortality in the future,” the study's authors wrote.

Study participants also said their work has helped them become more spiritual and this in turn has helped them deal with their own mortality.