Many nurses do not feel prepared to care for patients and families at the end of life (EOL). Because nurses are the health care professionals who spend the most time with patients and their families at the EOL, this is concerning. Nurses will experience death as a part of their practice and must care for the patients' significant others during times of sorrow and stress. The purpose of this literature review was to determine what is provided to undergraduate nursing students regarding EOL. The literature shows that a nurse with a positive attitude can improve the EOL experience for the patient and family. Three main themes emerged from the literature: a positive attitude, knowledge, and confidence/competence/comfort. One glaring omission is the care of the family of the dying patient. More research must be performed.
Penny Alt-Gehrman, MSN, RN, is Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing, Alverno College, Milwaukee.
Address correspondence to Penny Alt-Gehrman, MSN, RN, Alverno College, 3400 S 43rd St, PO Box 343922, Milwaukee, WI 53234-3922 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.
The author was a participant in the 2017 NLN Scholarly Writing Retreat, sponsored by the NLN Chamberlain College of Nursing Center for the Advancement of the Science of Nursing Education.