Catherine Rylance and Clare Robinson are Neonatal Bereavement Support Sisters at St Mary's Hospital, Manchester. They completed our one-year training course, Working With Bereaved Children And Young People.

On completion of the course, we feel more confident in offering targeted support to bereaved siblings, both individually and within the context of their family and culture.

As bereavement support sisters on a busy neonatal unit, it is apparent that one of the first concerns for bereaved parents is how to tell other children that their baby has died. Both parents and the staff seek advice and support for siblings from the bereavement team. We felt it integral to our role to be able to offer holistic family support following the death of a baby.

The course has helped us gain insight into the impact of grief on children and the influence of family, faith and culture on each individual bereaved child. We have grown in competence and confidence, recognizing the importance of robust assessment, identifying clear goals, evaluating practice and ensuring interventions are always based on sound theoretical principles.

The course has given us knowledge, skills and therapeutic interventions (including the opportunity to develop an assessment tool, unique to the neonatal setting) to work with siblings in a creative way.

We have valued learning from other members of the group, who have a wealth of varied experience, supporting bereaved children of all ages in diverse settings. It has been a very supportive, conducive learning environment, improving our understanding of different services, policies, drivers and limitations – and on completion of the course, we feel more confident in offering targeted support to bereaved siblings, both individually and within the context of their family and culture.