Transformation of nursing students' attitudes, assumptions, and beliefs on death and dying: A mixed methods study

by Doyle, Martha O., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2008, 104 pages; 3297538


The purpose of this sequential mixed methods study was to determine if transformative learning in the area of death and dying occurs during nursing education. One hundred and eighty-five students first and last semester ASN nursing students participated in the quantitative portion of this study which consisted of both groups of students completing a Concern About Dying (CAD) scale. No significant differences were found between beginning and last semester nursing students' personal death anxiety or anxiety about caring for dying patients, with both groups reporting significant anxiety. Students with higher levels of personal death anxiety were found be less comfortable with providing care to dying patients. Other factors such as spiritual beliefs, age, and past end-of-life experiences were examined for their possible relationship to death and dying attitudes. No relationship was found between spiritual beliefs and death and dying attitudes but relationships were found with these attitudes and the students' age or previous work or volunteer experience. Seven of the last semester students were interviewed soon after graduation about their educational and non-educational experiences that had impacted their current attitudes on death and dying, as well as caring for dying patients. While some students reported that their educational experience helped prepare them for caring for dying patients, the initial transformation of their death and dying attitudes appeared to have occurred more as the result of non-nursing educational experiences than by the nursing educational process.

AdviserJody Oomen-Early
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsSocial sciences education; Nursing; Curriculum development
Publication Number3297538

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