The Impact of a Palliative Care Educational Component on Attitudes Toward Care of the Dying in Undergraduate Nursing Students

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Title: The Impact of a Palliative Care Educational Component on Attitudes Toward Care of the Dying in Undergraduate Nursing Students
Author: Mallory, Judy Lynn
Advisors: J. Conrad Glass, Chair
A.P. Johnson, Member
John Pettitt, Member
John Burrow, Member
Abstract: Nurse educators have identified that historically nurses have not been preparedto care for dying patients. Research also has identified that nursing students haveanxieties about death, dying, and caring for dying patients. Several factors have beenidentified as affecting nurses', nursing students', and medical students' attitudes toward care of the dying. Factors addressed in this research will be death education,and death experience. As part of a national movement to improve end-of-life (EOL) care, schools ofnursing are starting to implement EOL education in their curricula. This researchlooked at one component of EOL education, which incorporates experiential learningusing Quint's (1967) model of death education and transformative learning theory.The educational experiences were geared to help students understand the skills neededto competently and compassionately care for the dying; those behaviors include: (1)responding during the death scene, (2) providing comfort, (3) responding to anger, (4)enhancing personal growth, (5) responding to colleagues, (6) enhancing the quality oflife during dying, and (7) responding to the family (Degner, Gow, & Thompson,1991). The study examined the long-term effects of an educational experience todetermine if a one- time educational experience provides sufficient, lasting effects in a6-week format.Results of this study indicate that education can have a positive effect onnursing students' attitudes toward care of the dying. Nursing students in the treatmentgroup had a significant positive increase in their attitudes toward care of thedying after the treatment. It was also noted on the pretest that those students who hadprevious experience in caring for dying patients had a statistically significant higherpositive attitude toward care of the dying than those who did not have previousexperience in care of the dying. The attitude change increased slightly after a 4-weekperiod. The use of the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) educationpackage along with experiences at hospice, the funeral home, the anatomy lab and roleplay help facilitate transformative learning in nursing students.
Date: 2002-02-13
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Adult and Community College Education

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