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Enfermería Global

On-line version ISSN 1695-6141


HANZELIKOVA POGRANYIVA, A. et al. Nursing Students' Reflections on the Death Process. Enferm. glob. [online]. 2014, vol.13, n.33, pp.133-144. ISSN 1695-6141.

One's attitude toward and fear of death in the nursing field can determine the quality of care that a dying patient receives, which makes this topic an important one to consider and discuss. It is necessary for one to learn to perceive death as a natural process. Healthcare workers treat dying patients, interpreting the phenomenon of death as well as death itself through their own personal lens and breadth of understanding. Training in thanatology and palliative care is scarcely and irregularly included in regular academic curricula. The objective of this study is to analyze the contributions of 3rd-year nursing students on the subject of palliative care upon writing a reflective journal entry about an article that surrounds a nurse's view on the process of dying. Phenomenology was used as a methodological instrument which intended to inductively draw up a standardized explanation of the phenomenon of death through the students' expressed thoughts on the matter. Relating to the attitudes that nurses that work with the terminally ill have towards death, the following facts stand out as impactful: lack of preparation, ineffective coping, and personal fears, values, and beliefs. Additionally, uneasiness associated with the use of life support and the care team's obstinate insistence on saving what cannot be saved is predominant. The results emphasize a very elevated level of the nurse's emotional involvement in caring for a dying patient. Specific preparation geared toward a better adaptation in working with terminal patients has been identified as a fundamental pillar for nurses in this line of work. Personal interest and emphasis on occupational excellence also stand out as influential factors. It is very important to analyze the problems regarding this "environment of death" and its impact on nursing students. Qualitative research in this field could be a useful tool in detecting worries and uncertainties surrounding this matter.

Keywords : death; nursing students; coping; patient.

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