AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000368034.87083.34
Letters

Hastening Death

Umenhofer, Lori

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Rockford, IL

Nurses are central figures in supporting interventions that minimize burden and distress and enhance the quality of life of patients who are terminally ill. Thus, it's imperative that new nurses be properly prepared to provide quality care for patients at the end of life.

Unfortunately, research shows that the current nursing education curriculum is weak when it comes to end-of-life training. A study conducted by White and colleagues examined how well nurses are prepared for end-of-life care and revealed that many don't feel adequately prepared to talk with patients about the process of dying. The participants wished they had more information on how to talk with patients and families about dying, comfort care nursing interventions, recognizing impending death, and various religious and cultural perspectives.

As a nursing student, I often feel anxious and nervous when I care for a dying patient. My classroom lectures have been similar to those given in medical school—death is an enemy to be conquered. We focus on treating the disease process and give very little attention to death and dying.

Lori Umenhofer

Rockford, IL

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REFERENCE

White KR, et al. Are nurses adequately prepared for end-of-life care? J Nurs Scholarsh 2001;33(2):147–51.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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