Are newly graduated nurses ready to deal with death and dying? A literature review

Linda Malone, Judith Anderson, Lynette Croxon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objectives: This article examines the literature currently available to explore the readiness of students and new garaduate nurses when faced with death and dying within the workplace.
Design: This study was a systematic literature review on research articles from peer reviewed journals using the PRISMA framework.
Data sources: Databases utilised in the search included EBSCOHost, Primo Search and Google Scholar.
Review methods: Key search terms included new graduate nurses, life limiting illness, nursing undergraduate, nursing students, palliative care. Abstracts of these
articles were reviewed to ensure that they related to new graduate and undergraduate nurse experiences with death and dying. Further interrogation of the reference
lists located another 39 articles for possible inclusion. Duplicates were removed. Articles for inclusion were to be full text articles available in English and within the
date range of 2009 to 2015. This left a total of 31 articles for the review.
Results: From the review four key themes emerged. These were; the importance of palliative care in undergraduate nursing curricula, readiness for dealing with death
and dying, the death experience for different patient populations and education strategies.
Conclusions: There is an increasing emphasis on education strategies to assist with the end of life care knowledge and skills for nursing students. Simulation is seen to
be a positive way to provide undergraduate education in end of life care as simulated exposure to dying patients is recognised as an effective means alleviating anxiety
regarding death and the care of dying patients. While palliative care is viewed as an important aspect of undergraduate nursing education it is recognised as an area
of practice that undergraduate nurses feel they are not adequately prepared for. Undergraduate education needs to incorporate skills such as having conversations and communicating effectively with patients and families experiencing end of life issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-93
Number of pages5
JournalNursing and palliative care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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