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end-of-life care, nursing education, simulation



  1. Montgomery, Michele PhD, MPH, RN
  2. Cheshire, Michelle EdD, RN
  3. Johnson, Paige PhD, RN
  4. Beasley, Amy DNP, RN


Because nurses are the healthcare providers who spend the most time with patients and their families at the end of life, baccalaureate nursing students should be adequately prepared for this role before they graduate. However, many undergraduate nursing programs fail to provide adequate end-of-life content, and many undergraduate nursing students often do not have the opportunity to care for dying patients during clinical rotations. Faculty in an undergraduate community health nursing course incorporated an end-of-life clinical experience using high-fidelity patient simulation to allow students to provide holistic care to a dying patient and his family in a safe learning environment. The simulator was used to play the role of the dying patient, and a course faculty member acted as the patient's daughter. Students were given the role of the hospice nurse. At the end of the experience, students expressed a greater understanding of the pathophysiology at the end of life, as well as enhanced communication skills. Because many nursing students may not encounter an actively dying patient during their clinical rotations, high-fidelity patient simulation is an effective mechanism for providing students with exposure to end of life.