Research briefs. Nurses' attitudes toward death and caring for dying patients

Division of Nursing, Indiana University Northwest, Gary, USA.
Oncology nursing forum (Impact Factor: 2.79). 11/1999; 26(10):1683-7.
Source: PubMed


To examine possible relationships among the demographic variables of nurses and their attitudes toward death and caring for dying patients.
A private hospital and Visiting Nurses Association office in an ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the Midwest.
403 nurses, predominantly female (90%) and Caucasian (70%), with a mean age of 41.8 years.
Participants completed the Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of the Dying Scale, the Death Attitude Profile-Revised (DAP-R), and a demographic questionnaire.
Attitudes toward death and caring for dying people.
DAP-R scores were related to sex, religious affiliation, and current contact with terminally ill patients. Frommelt scale scores (e.g., showing acceptance of death) were positively related to current contact with dying patients, negatively correlated with two DAP-R subscales (Fear of Death and Death Avoidance), and positively correlated with two other DAP-R subscales (Approach Acceptance and Neutral Acceptance).
Nurses' attitudes toward death and their current contact with terminally ill patients were predictive of their attitudes toward caring for terminally ill patients.
Professionals who are responsible for designing educational programs focused on nurses' attitudes toward caring for terminally ill patients may want to include an assessment of death attitudes and interventions aimed at decreasing negative attitudes and increasing positive attitudes toward death in such programs.

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    • "(Table 2) contd….. Author/Setting/ Nursing Discipline Design/Sample & Instruments Findings Outcomes Effect/Correlations Rooda 1999 [3] "
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    ABSTRACT: Nurses are frequently exposed to dying patients and death in the course of their work. This experience makes individuals conscious of their own mortality, often giving rise to anxiety and unease. Nurses who have a strong anxiety about death may be less comfortable providing nursing care for patients at the end of their life. This paper explores the literature on death anxiety and nurses' attitudes to determine whether fear of death impacts on nurses' caring for dying patients. Fifteen quantitative studies published between 1990 and 2012 exploring nurses' own attitudes towards death were critically reviewed. Three key themes identified were: i). nurses' level of death anxiety; ii). death anxiety and attitudes towards caring for the dying, and iii). death education was necessary for such emotional work. Based on quantitative surveys using valid instruments, results suggested that the level of death anxiety of nurses working in hospitals in general, oncology, renal, hospice care or in community services was not high. Some studies showed an inverse association between nurses' attitude towards death and their attitude towards caring for dying patients. Younger nurses consistently reported stronger fear of death and more negative attitudes towards end-of-life patient care. Nurses need to be aware of their own beliefs. Studies from several countries showed that a worksite death education program could reduce death anxiety. This offers potential for improving nurses' caring for patients at the end of their life.
    The Open Nursing Journal 01/2013; 7(1):14-21. DOI:10.2174/1874434601307010014
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    • "The findings of these studies indicate that those nurses who had had more contact with terminally ill or dying patients were found to hold more positive attitudes and exhibit less anxiety toward patients who were dying. Rooda et al. (1999), in a sample of American nurses, found that positive attitudes toward the care of terminally ill patients were negatively associated with the fear and avoidance of death. The emotional labor that accompanies nursing care of the dying and the bereaved can be intense and exhausting and can be seen to require a great deal of support and personal awareness and coping strategies (Bailey, Murphy, & Porock, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were to analyze the relationships between death attitudes and perceived emotional intelligence in a sample of nursing students, and to determine whether there are differences between different academic years with regard to both emotional intelligence and death attitudes. The participants were 243 nursing students. They all responded voluntarily and anonymously to a questionnaire that assessed the following constructs: fear of death, death anxiety, death depression, death obsession, and emotional intelligence (attention, clarity, and mood repair). Students' scores on fear of death of others subscale (p < .05) decreased significantly across the 3 years of the nursing degree program and increased significantly on emotional clarity (p < .05), a dimension of emotional intelligence. The multiple linear regression analyses confirmed the predictive value of attention, clarity, and mood repair regarding levels of fear of death of others. The importance of including emotional skills training and death-education programs as part of professional nursing curricula are discussed.
    OMEGA--Journal of Death and Dying 11/2012; 66(1):39-55. DOI:10.2190/OM.66.1.c · 0.44 Impact Factor
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    • "Hence, poor quality of care can result if the values of the patient and their family have not been identified, if care goals are not coherent, if clinical technology is inappropriately used to assuage patient/family anxiety and if clinicians fail to engage in time-consuming decision processes that can culminate in patient and family mistrust of the system and of professions, if omitted (Meier et al., 2001). Thus, where attitudes to death and dying are shown to be multidimensional and complex, originating from personal, professional and organisational sources, strategies to address them will also be multidimensional (Rooda et al., 1999). "
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    ABSTRACT: This paper aims to understand the impact of emotional labour in specific health care settings and its potential effect on patient care. Multi-method qualitative ethnographic study undertaken in a large ICU in Sydney, Australia using observations from patient case studies, ward rounds and family conferences, open ended interviews with medical and nursing clinicians and managers and focus groups with nurses. Clinician attitudes to death and dying and clinicians' capacity to engage with the human needs of patients influenced how emotional labour was experienced. Negative effects were not formally acknowledged in clinical workplaces and institutional mechanisms to support clinicians did not exist. The potential effects of clinician attitudes on performance are hypothesised from clinician-reported data; no evaluation was undertaken of patient care. Health service providers must openly acknowledge the effect of emotional labour on the care of dying people. By sharing their experiences, multidisciplinary clinicians become aware of the personal, professional and organisational impact of emotional labour as a core element of health care so as to explicitly and practically respond to it. The effect of care on clinicians, particularly care of dying people, not only affects the wellbeing of clinicians themselves, but also the quality of care that patients receive. The affective aspect of clinical work must be factored in as an essential element of quality and quality improvement.
    Journal of Health Organisation and Management 02/2009; 23(1):5-22. DOI:10.1108/14777260910942524 · 0.36 Impact Factor
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