Nursing students' experiences of caring for dying patients and their families: A systematic review and meta-synthesis

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15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nurses play important roles in caring for dying patients and their families. Difficulties students confronted when facing dying patients challenge the quality of nursing education. A better understanding of students' experiences would enhance teachers' ability in helping students. This study aims to describe available evidence about nursing students' experiences when caring for dying patients and their families. A review of qualitative studies published between 2005 and 2017 was undertaken using the following databases: MEDLINE, CINAHL, ProQuest Central, ScienceDirect, and CNKI. The keywords included were nursing students, experience, care, end-of-life, and dying. Qualitative Assessment and Review Instrument was used to assess the quality of the studies by two independent reviewers. The data from the studies were analyzed by meta-synthesis. Eighteen English and two Chinese studies were selected in this review. Four themes were emerged: (1) Students with dying patients: Students did not have enough ability in symptoms control, comfort supply, and therapeutic communication for dying patients. (2) Students with the patients' families: Students advocated more caring for patients' families. (3) Students with the surroundings: Professional medical staffs, especially the nursing preceptors, were key roles in constructing a supporting system for students. (4) Students with themselves: Nursing students underwent various negative feelings and adopted both negative and positive strategies to cope with such feelings; students experienced professional and personal development during the caring for dying patients. Nursing students' abilities in terminal symptom control, comfort supply, and therapeutic communication should be improved by more theoretic learning and simulation practice. The nursing preceptors were key roles in constructing a supporting system for students and helping them to control the negative emotions when facing dying patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-272
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers of Nursing
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • caring for dying patients
  • experiences
  • meta-synthesis
  • nursing student
  • qualitative studies

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