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Using Nontraditional Curricular Tools to Address Death and Dying in Nurse Education

Schreiner, Lynnette MSN, RN; Wolf Bordonaro, Gaelynn P. PhD, ATR-BC

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: June 2019 - Volume 21 - Issue 3 - p 229–236
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000514
Feature Articles

Nurse educators have a unique role to prepare nursing students for all aspects of patient and family care, from birth through death. Knowing that death is inevitable is not the challenge. Preparing nursing students to cope with death and address personal and community myths about death and dying are the challenges. Opportunities for students to examine personal and community associations with death are essential for nursing students preparing to enter the field. Biophysiological processes and treatment protocols are an essential part of each course; however, one course in a Department of Nursing in a small university in the Midwestern United States provides students the opportunity to reflect on death and dying and includes the experience of creating a tangible symbol to “hold on to” as they professionally and thoughtfully work with dying patients and their families, as well as cope with their own experiences of loss and grief in their careers.

Lynnette Schreiner, MSN, RN, is associate professor, Department of Nursing, Emporia State University, KS.

Gaelynn P. Wolf Bordonaro, PhD, ATR-BC, is professor, Department of Counselor Education, Emporia State University, KS.

Address correspondence to Lynnette Schreiner, MSN, RN, Emporia State University, One Kellogg Circle, Emporia, KS 66801 (

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2019 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.