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Title: Student nurses' experiences of caring for dying patients
Authors: Buhagiar, Jovanca N.
Keywords: Terminally ill -- Malta
Attitude (Psychology)
Nursing -- Malta
Adjustment (Psychology)
Issue Date: 2005
Citation: Buhagiar, J. N. (2005). Student nurses' experiences of caring for dying patients (Bachelor's dissertation).
Abstract: Care for those approaching death is an integral and important part in the health care field (Field & Cassel 1997). Dying is a part of life. However it brings about a vast array of intense emotions. Nurses are the ones who spend a prolonged period of time with dying patients, witnessing this as part of their daily nursing care. This is experienced in a different way by student nurses. This study is to look into the student nurses' experiences of caring for the dying patients. The aim of this small scale explorative qualitative study was to explore the experiences of student nurses whilst caring for the dying patients in Malta. Ten student nurses, from the Institute of Health care in Malta, participated in the study. The sample consisted of five diploma and five degree students and all of them in the final year of the course. Data was collected by means of focus groups interviews, with five students in each group. The interviews were tape recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. The researcher's position in the study was acknowledged as being similar to the participants' level that of a student nurse. The results of the study revealed that student nurses experienced a variety of emotions such as guilt, sadness, frustration and helplessness when caring for dying patients. In spite of the fact that students experienced these negative emotions, they still felt that caring for the dying, helped them come to terms with death. This study revealed that nursing students felt they were not properly prepared to care for the dying patients. Nursing students expressed the opinion that the course did not appropriately prepare them for the traumatic effects that caring for a dying patient can have. They felt they were not being supported for example by professional nurses throughout their course. Students argued that nurses were not altogether supportive under such serious circumstances as those dealing with death and caring for the dying. Another difficulty encountered was that of communicating with relatives of patients. Most of the times students felt unprepared and experienced great communication difficulty in relation with close relatives of dying patients. The students suggested various ways of how support could be provided to student nurses during the course. One way is to include sharing of experiences among students. This way they could learn from each other experiences. The participants suggested the introduction of mentors in clinical areas. Mentors would expertly teach them how to deal with dying patients and communicate with relatives in real to life situations. In this manner students are given the appropriate emotional support. Having someone, like mentors to listen to them while facing problems in the clinical areas, would help students positively cope and be left with less traumatic affect. This study served to highlight limitations within the nursing practice and to recommend ways of improving it. Suggestions for further research were also given.
Description: B.SC.(HONS)NURSING
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacHSc - 2005
Dissertations - FacHScNur - 2005

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