Undergraduate nursing students’ attitudes towards the care of dying patients

Williams D., Nocella J., Joset E. Brown


Background and objectives: A holistic approach to care is essential as nurses must aim to address all aspects of a patient to provide the best quality and most personalized care. Regardless of nursing units or patients’ situations, dying is inevitable, and nursing students may need to provide care for the dying patient during pre-licensure preparation. Studies show nursing students are ill prepared to provide this care. This study aims to understand nursing students’ attitudes towards and perceived emotional preparation to care for dying patients at an undergraduate baccalaureate program in the northeast.

Methods: The study utilized a mixed methods approach of analyzing the electronic survey distributed via Qualtrics to all nursing students in an undergraduate nursing program at a mid-size public university in northern New Jersey. The study utilized the Frommelt’s Attitudes Toward Care of Dying Scale with results analyzed through one-way ANOVA testing and regression tests utilizing SPSS software. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the answers to the open-ended questions.

Results and conclusion: Sixty (N = 60) students completed the survey. Data analysis revealed a significant relationship between students with previous death experience and education through regression testing (p < .05). Themes included feeling unprepared and afraid of patient death and desiring to contribute positively to the dying patients’ experience. Results of this study may be used to encourage further discussion on the emotional aspects of nursing care for dying patients. Strategies can be implemented in undergraduate programs to enhance students’ emotional abilities to provide care during these distressing circumstances.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v12n9p16

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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