Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Many nurses unprepared to meet dying patients, study suggests

Date:
September 2, 2014
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Most nurses in their work care for patients who are dying. A study of more than 200 students has shown that many nurses in training feel unprepared and anxious when faced with the prospect of meeting patients during end-of-life care.

Most nurses in their work care for patients who are dying. A study of more than 200 students has shown that many nurses in training feel unprepared and anxious when faced with the prospect of meeting patients during end-of-life care.

Related Articles


Scientists from the Sahlgrenska Academy have interviewed 222 nursing students at the University of Gothenburg, the University of Sk๖vde and the Ersta Sk๖ndal University College. The interviews dealt with their thoughts about caring for dying patients, their ideas about how to support and meet the patient in dialogue, and their own feelings when faced with dying patients.

Beyond understanding

The interviews showed that even though many students view death as a natural part of life, many find the idea of death to be frightening, and beyond understanding.

"Death awakens feelings of helplessness, insecurity and insufficiency in most nursing students. Some find it natural to talk about death, while others consider it to be the worst thing that can happen and have difficulty coping with the need to talk about it," says Susann Strang, scientist at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

A nurseดs responsibility

Many students described how they did not know how to answer the patients' questions, and desired to change the subject when patients brought death up. At the same time, a large fraction of the students consider it to be the responsibility of nurses to appear strong in front of patients.

"Our study shows that the students have an ideal of a competent nurse and perfect care that differs significantly from the actual situation. The issues of death and dying have much to do with the students' own fear and lack of experience, while at the same time they place high demands on themselves to be good caregivers," says Susann Strang.

"Many hope that this will become easier with time, and that one day they will have the courage required to care for dying patients and dare to engage with them. Nurse education can play a more active role here by discovering at an early stage which students experience strong anxiety about meeting and caring for dying patients, and offering these students guidance, training and support."

The article Swedish nursing students' reasoning about emotionally demanding issues in caring for dying patients will be published in the International Journal of Palliative Nursing.

VOICES FROM THE STUDENTS

"I'm frightened about it, and I was terribly upset during my work placement whenever a patient died. The whole situation can be frightening, and the dead body..."

"A nurse is expected to be strong. It may very well be tragic to see a person who I have cared for dying in front of my eyes. It may affect me emotionally. But I am to support the family of the dying person. So I have to be strong."

"Well, I think it's really awful to deal with the cold body. I can manage to sit there and wait, and be present as long as the patient is breathing, but once he or she is dead I find it extremely upsetting."

"Of course it's difficult, but as a caregiver and fellow human being I regard it as my duty not be afraid or uncomfortable when faced with difficult situations. I regard it as a benefit to be able to hear another person's thoughts about something so great that affects me not only professionally but also personally."

"I'm not uncomfortable when it comes to spending time with people who are dying. But I do feel unsure about how to talk to them, the questions they pose. I don't have very much experience of giving existential counselling to people who are dying."

"For me, death is the worst thing that can happen, but it is at the same time a part of life, so we have to be able to talk about it."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Susann Strang et al. Swedish nursing students' reasoning about emotionally demanding issues in caring for dying patients. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, September 2014

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Many nurses unprepared to meet dying patients, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902114418.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2014, September 2). Many nurses unprepared to meet dying patients, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902114418.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Many nurses unprepared to meet dying patients, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902114418.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) — Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins