anxiety, apprehension, end-of-life care, nurses, terminal care



  1. Weigel, Christine MS, RN
  2. Parker, Gary MS, RN
  3. Fanning, Linda MS, RN
  4. Reyna, Krista MS, RN, NP
  5. Gasbarra, Dianne Brewer MD


Palliative care services in the US have quickly grown, challenging nurses to increase knowledge relating to end-of-life care. One area requiring investigation concerns nurses' attitudes in caring for the dying patient. Nurses (N = 151) representing seven hospital units were administered the Professional End-of-Life Care Attitude Scale. Data analysis quantified total, personal, and professional apprehension levels and identified differences by professional degree, gender, department, and personal experience. There were no differences in scores by education (P < .05). All units showed a high level of apprehension in caring for dying patients. Rehabilitation was highest (mean = 96, SD = 6.23); remaining units showed no differences. Male nurses were more apprehensive (mean = 95.5, SD = 3.32) than their female counterparts (mean = 91.60, SD = 6.37). Individuals with less nursing experience reported higher personal communication apprehension scores. Findings suggest the need for increased professional exposure and training for nurses who provide care to dying patients and their families. More research is needed to explore these findings.