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dying, end-of-life care, nursing education, nursing students, qualitative research



  1. Allchin, Lynn PhD, RN


The purpose of this hermeneutic study was to identify and clarify the characteristics of students' experiences in providing care for dying persons and their families during these students' clinical rotation in adult health nursing. The goal of the study was to elucidate and clarify the depth of students' experiences in caring for dying patients and their families to enhance the utility of death and dying content for nursing students. After the completion of Institutional Review Board approval procedures, the investigator collected data through single, individual interviews conducted with 12 students who had cared for dying persons during their clinical rotation in adult health nursing. Using Giorgi's method of data analysis, three major themes were identified: initial hesitancy and discomfort, reflective musings, and personal and professional benefits. Recommendations are made to increase both didactic and clinical end-of-life content in undergraduate nursing programs (a consistent recommendation in nursing literature for at least 30 years) and to hold debriefing sessions for all students caring for the dying in any setting.