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Sitting with the Great Unknown: Be-ing

Title: Sitting with the Great Unknown: BE-ing with Grief and Spiritual Distress in Palliative Care with Carla Cheatham, PhD, MA, MDiv

CE/CME Offered:

CE/CME Credit Available: Nurse, Physician, and Non-Physician Healthcare Professional CE credit


Member Price: $105.00
Non-Member Price: $210.00

Payment Options:

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Add to Cart with Nurse CE
Add to Cart with Physician CME credit
Add to Cart with Non-Physician Healthcare Professional Certificate

Length: 1.0 hours
This session was originally presented at NHPCO’s 2013 Virtual Conference 'Loss, Grief and Bereavement, Helping Patients, Families and Communities.' Humans are naturally empathic (ever experienced “yawn contagion?”) and want to be comforting to those experiencing suffering. However, our discomfort with not knowing exactly what to say may lead us to either abandon persons in distress or lapse into unhelpful clichés that create more trauma and do more damage than good. Personally and professionally, none of us are immune to this dynamic. This practical session will explore the “why’s” of our discomfort, the importance of being fully present with persons in pain, and a list of do’s and don’ts to guide the daily practice of all professional disciplines, and as well as the more difficult role of "human be-ing."


  • Appraise your ability to witness the pain of others
  • Integrate a philosophy of personal autonomy that will assist you in witnessing pain more comfortably
  • Apply appropriate response skills to those experiencing suffering and grief

Carla Cheatham, MA, MDiv, PhD,
Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham is a Spiritual Care Coordinator and works with Buckner Hospice in Austin, Texas. Carla is the Section Leader for the Spiritual Caregivers Section through the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals, which provides resources, education, and networking regarding Spiritual Care for NHPCO members. She is also the founder of Carla Cheatham Consulting Group, which provides SCIE--Spiritual Care Integrity and Excellence trainings for Spiritual Care Counselors, Social Workers, Nurses, and Physicians in healthcare. After receiving her M.A. in Psychology from Stephen F. Austin State University, Carla began her career in social services, working in both direct care and management in child and family therapy, substance abuse treatment, crisis counseling, therapeutic outdoor education, team building, and as a Qualified Mental Retardation Professional. Carla then went on to receive her Ph.D. in Health and Kinesiology at Texas A&M University, where she taught and researched, focusing largely on the interaction between spirituality and health. Carla received her M.Div at Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology and is an ordained minister. After serving congregations and directing an interfaith worker justice non-profit, Carla began working in hospice and found a passion for promoting the role of ethical spiritual care at the end of life and assisting all hospice staff in finding greater connection and personal health through a grounded and clear approach to our respective work in this field. Carla is the author of Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life, a book of her work as a hospice chaplain designed to help consumers understand hospice more and fear it less.

Disclosure: Planners: Barbara L. Bouton, MA, FT, and Jennifer Kennedy, MA, BSN, RN, have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Faculty: Carla Cheatham, MA, MDiv, PhD,as no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Completion: In order to complete this online activity, participants must view the course in its entirety, correctly answer all case studies and quiz/test questions (as appropriate) and complete the evaluation. You will have access to the course for 90 days from the date of purchase.


Nurse: NHPCO is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.                      
NHPCO designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1 contact hours. Nurses should claim only the contact hours commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Accredited status by ANCC refers only to continuing nursing education and does not imply endorsement of any commercial product discussed in conjunction with this activity.


Physician: The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

NHPCO designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 credit(s) ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Course Release Date: 02/04/2016

Course Expiration Date:


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