Death is the final journey in life; therefore, all living beings will inevitably die. Nurses play an important role in caring for dying patients and their families. Because of this, nurses need to evaluate their beliefs and feelings on death before providing care to patients. Many researchers have studied the attitudes of nurses and the effects these attitudes may have while providing care to the dying patient and their families. Research studies use demographics and other measuring tools to analyze the attitudes of nurses. The focus of this paper is to report on a study conducted in a comprehensive cancer center. Studies have shown that cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States. The basis of this study is voluntary, anonymous, and participants were not given any compensation. The method used is a descriptive quantitative design. Assessing Nurses’ Attitudes toward Death and Caring for Dying Patients Introduction
The objective of this study is to assess the attitudes and emotions nurses may feel when caring for a dying patient. Cancer is a disease that generally affects adults and the older population. While many patients survive a diagnosis of cancer, unfortunately many do not (Fairbrother & Paice, 2005). Caring for terminal patients is very demanding psychologically. Nurses need to care for themselves first in order to provide patients and families with the care that is needed. The setting for this study was at a 432-bed comprehensive cancer center. Several variables were used for this research, including years of nursing experience, age, gender, previous experience caring for terminal patients, and attitudes of nurses caring for a dying patient. Participants consisted of 355 oncology nurses who worked with inpatients and outpatients (Lange, Thorn, & Kline, 2008). Terminal Patients
Studies have shown cancer as the second most common cause of death in the United States. An estimated one out of four deaths is cancer related. Considering the vast number of deaths occurring from this disease, nurses frequently must provide end-of-life (EOL) care to dying cancer patients (Beckstrand, Moore, Callister, & Bond, 2009). In an effort to provide EOL care effectively, a nurse must examine his or her innermost feelings about death. Terminal patients are entitled to die with dignity and compassion. A nurse faces many issues while caring for a dying patient. One must meet the many physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs of the patient and their families. Oncology nurses are exposed to dying patients and experience other types of suffering on a daily basis (Dunn, Otten, & Stephens, 2005). Considering these issues, these nurses may suffer from high rates of burn out and stress. Simply put, the attitude that nurses possess toward death and dying patients may affect the care they provide. Methods used in research
A descriptive and quantitative design was the method used for this research. The surveys consisted of two valid and reliable instruments and a demographic questionnaire. The survey was voluntary, anonymous, and participantes were not given any compensation. Registered nurses throughout the hospital were invited to participate and the forms were placed in a convenient location during nursing orientation and annual competency day. Each nurse completing all questions included in their survey packet took part in the research study. The questionnaire took an estimated time of 10 to 15 minutes. The completed surveys were placed in a labeled box in a specific location (Lange, Thom, & Kline, 2008). Instruments
This particular study utilized The Frommelt Attitude towards Care of the Dying (FATCOD) Scale. This is a 30-item tool using a five-point Likert scale for indicators. This indicates participant’s answers in reference to their attitudes toward caring for dying patients. It is a reliable tool and used multiple times throughout different studies. There are an...