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, 20 (10), 509-15

Death and Caring for Dying Patients: Exploring First-Year Nursing Students' Descriptive Experiences

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Death and Caring for Dying Patients: Exploring First-Year Nursing Students' Descriptive Experiences

Kristina Ek et al. Int J Palliat Nurs.

Abstract

Aim: To describe first-year nursing students' experiences of witnessing death and providing end-of-life care.

Methods: This study is part of a larger longitudinal project. Interviews (n=17) were conducted with nursing students at the end of their first year of education. To analyse the interviews (lived-experience descriptions), a thematic analysis, 'a search for meaning' ( Van Manen, 1997 ) was applied.

Results: The results are presented within the framework of four separate themes: (1) The thought of death is more frightening than the actual experience, (2) Daring to approach the dying patient and offering something of oneself, (3) The experience of not sufficing in the face of death and (4) Being confronted with one's own feelings.

Conclusion: Nursing students require continuous support and opportunity to reflect and discuss their experiences about caring for dying patients and confronting death throughout the entirety of their education. In addition, teachers and clinical supervisors need to give support using reflective practice to help students to develop confidence in their capacity for caring for dying patients.

Keywords: Death; End-of-life care; Experiences; Nursing education; Nursing students.

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