Buy this Article for $10.95

Have a coupon or promotional code? Enter it here:

When you buy this you'll get access to the ePub version, a downloadable PDF, and the ability to print the full article.


critical care nurse, descriptive phenomenology, end-of-life care, feelings, nursing responses



  1. Arbour, Richard B. MSN, RN, CCRN, CNRN, CCNS, CCTC, FAAN, FCCM
  2. Wiegand, Debra L. PhD, MBE, RN, CCRN, CHPN, FPCN


Critical care nurses care for dying patients and their families. Little is known about the feelings and experiences of critical care nurses and how they are affected when they provide end-of-life care. Study purpose was to understand lived experiences, responses, and feelings of critical care nurses providing end-of-life care. A descriptive phenomenological design with purposive sampling was used to recruit 19 critical care nurses who cared for dying patients and their families. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Nurses were asked open-ended questions about experiences and responses while providing end-of-life care. Coliazzi's method of data analysis was used to inductively determine themes, clusters, and categories. Data saturation was achieved, and methodological rigor was established. Responses included personalizing the experience, sadness, ageism, anger, frustration, relief, and stress. Factors contributing to clinicians' lived experience included previous experiences with death affecting how the experience was personalized among others. Critical care nurses may be unprepared for feelings and responses encountered during end-of-life care. Preparation for feelings and responses encountered during end-of-life care in nursing education and critical care orientation classes is essential. Future research should study optimal mentoring, teaching, and preparation for providing optimal end-of-life care. Study results have implications for practice, education, and research.