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Factors impacting pediatric registered nurse attitudes toward caring for dying children and their families: A descriptive study

Published:September 20, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pedn.2022.09.010

      Highlights

      • Registered nurses care for children and their families at the end of life.
      • Descriptive study exploring the attitudes toward end-of-life care.
      • Study results indicated the need for increased education for nurses.
      • Education on end-of-life care increases nurse attitudes and knowledge.

      Abstract

      Purpose

      The purpose of this study was to gain knowledge of the educational preparation and attitudes of registered nurses at a southeastern pediatric hospital toward caring for dying children and their families.

      Design and methods

      A descriptive study with two independent samples was used to examine the attitudes of registered nurses at a pediatric hospital in southeastern United States. Participants completed the Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of the Dying Scale, Form B, a 30-item survey. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze data.

      Results

      One hundred and thirty-two registered nurses participated in the study. Results indicated a statistically significant difference in attitudes toward caring for dying pediatric patient scores in registered nurses working in the hematology/oncology and intensive care units compared to the other units (p = 0.0017; 95% CI: 2.39–10.12).

      Conclusions

      This study described the educational preparation and attitudes of registered nurses who care for children who are dying and their families. Additionally, pediatric end-of-life care is complex and is further influenced by experiences and attitudes. Future research is needed to identify educational needs to care for pediatric patients and their families at the end of life.

      Practice implications

      Findings from this project indicated end-of-life care education should be integrated into undergraduate curricula. New nurse graduates who are entering the workforce should receive education on end-of-life care, especially if they are entering into a pediatric specific organization. Healthcare organizations should include end-of-life care education as part of the orientation process and annual competency process.

      Keywords

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