Dealing with end of life-New graduated nurse experiences

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Aims and objectives: This article explores the perceptions of new graduate nurses around their readiness for practice when faced with death and dying within the workplace, particularly in rural hospital and community nursing settings. Background: An essential consideration for nurses in the care of people with life-limiting illness is the extent of their preparation for this area of practice. Nurses need to be aware of a multitude of compounding factors that will influence how and where the person is cared for. Despite significant literature about how to provide end of life education to undergraduate nurses there is little in the literature that explores the experiences of new graduate nurses. Design: This paper reports on a qualitative interpretative study with data collected in seven semi-structured interviews. Method: Participants were invited to be interviewed with an online mail-out to Alumni who had graduated between 1-2 years earlier. A thematic analysis of the interviews was then conducted. Results: Four themes emerged from the thematic analysis of the interviews. These were; the role of the new graduate in palliative care, preparation for palliative care in undergraduate nursing curricula, readiness for dealing with death and dying, and gaps in educational preparation. Conclusions: 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. This study identifies the need to incorporate skills such as having conversations and communicating effectively with patients and families experiencing end of life issues. Relevance to clinical practice: Graduate nurses feel they are not adequately prepared for end of life care which demonstrates the need for quality end of life care education in undergraduate nursing curricula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number1-2
Early online dateMay 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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