Critical Care Nurses Perceptions in End-of-Life Situations
Forsyth Technical Community College
Literature Review It is estimated between 70 and 80 percent of any population will die in an
institutional setting (Tan, Low, Yap, Lee, Pang, & Wu 2006). The majority of those will be in a hospital setting. Intensive Care Nurses play a vital role in the care of many of these patients. The literature reviewed for this paper contains research on the process of caring for dying patients in three different yet vital methods. The first conducted a written survey of the nursing staff in a hospital that employed and treated a large multicultural population.
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Assessment In each of the researches there were a number of themes that consistently emerged. They are best described as (1) helping the patient through, (2) telling bad news, (3) grieving as a process, (4) family as their patient, (5) the dying patient’s effects on the nurse (Popejoy, Brandt, Beck, & Antal 2009). Most of the time when a patient arrives in the Intensive Care Unit it is because of a sudden medical condition or an unexpected worsening of a current condition. In either case this is a stressful time for the patient, the patient’s family, and the Intensive Care Nurse. The patient is concerned for him/herself, the family is deeply concerned for the family member, and the nurse is attempting to provide lifesaving treatment. The intensive Care Nurse occupies a unique role as the immediate care provided and liaison between the patient, family, physician, and hospital. Research has indicated the vast majority of nurses do not mind caring for a dying patient (Tan, Low, Yap, Lee, Pang, & Wu 2006). Nurses elect to join the medical field because they want to help and make a difference! Often times in critical care this desire turns to passion. The nurse provides the best care possible and often is rewarded with the satisfaction of seeing the patient recover. However, there is the reality that medical science has not progressed to the point where death can be eliminated. When this happens the death of the patient is going to be