The real life experience in clinical arena can be challenging for student nurses, to cope with the patients’ suffering, to provide care, to communicate with them and their caregivers as death approaches .It is essential to understand student nurses’ feelings when confronted a dying patient, so that specific training, consultation and empowerment give them prior to their clinical placement. However, there has been little research in Greece on student nurses’ experience when facing care of patients and their caregivers in the last days of life.The purpose of this study was to explore undergraduate student nurse’s experience facing death and dying of a patient during their clinical practice.
A qualitative, descriptive design was used. Qualitative data were collected in June 2018 from 4th -year nursing students’ of Nursing School of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Experiences were collected through written reflections to obtain data about their experience when cared for a serious ill patient and when delivered their care to a dying patient and their caregivers. A content analysis of their comments was carried out.
From 101 undergraduated nurses 42 answered in open-ended question “Please describe the death experience of a patient during your clinical practice”. The response rate was 41,6%.The average age of the students was 22.Nursing students’ comments revealed concerns on handling the family/caregivers of the dying patient, their willingness to care for body of the dying, expressing their emotions such as sadness, describing death experience using medical terminology and using their previous personal experiences and knowledge to handle with . Thus five categories were emerged, the concept of “family/caregivers issues” “participation in the care of the dying” “description of the event using medical terminology”, “expressing emotions positive or negative” and “referring to their previous experience and knowledge” respectively.
Study’s findings highlighted the influence of knowledge, personal attitudes and clinical stressors that student nurses faced in a clinical practice when they were training in palliative care.
Clinical trial identification
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Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.