Nurse Graduates' Perceived Educational Needs after Experiencing the Death of a Patient

Theses and Dissertations

Advance technologies prolong the inevitable death of patients witnessed firsthand by nurses at the bedside. The routine exposure of patient suffering during the dying process is a precursor to moral distress and job dissatisfaction. Nurse Graduates (NGs) typically find themselves ill prepared when faced with death and dying despite receiving educational preparation on end-of-life (EOL) care. The type of support and education NGs perceive as beneficial during their first EOL experience were unexplored. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceived level of support, educational needs, and pre-licensure preparation NGs identify as most helpful after experiencing their first adult patient death. A qualitative descriptive design was employed by interviewing 20 NGs who experienced their first adult patient death within their first 18 months of practice. Six major themes were discovered including: 1) navigating the process, 2) not prepared, 3) support, 4) few deaths–missed opportunities, 5) preparing NGs for death and dying, and 6) supporting NGs through practice. The knowledge gained from this study offers valuable insight into the NGs’ EOL experience during their transition to practice, proving guidance for future policy and curriculum.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cadavero, A

Cited Editors

  • Sharts-Hopko, NC

Published Date

  • 2018

Conference Name

  • Villanova University, Pennsylvania