The Lived Experiences of Nurses Caring for Dying Children: Preparing Students and Nurses for Practice
Curcio, Danna L.
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Session presented on Saturday, July 23, 2016: The purpose of this research study was to explore the lived experiences of nurses caring for children. The method for conducting this research study was from a qualitative phenomenological perspective. Nurses and health care professionals may at times have difficulty adjusting and processing when life ends and this may have the potential to interfere with self-adjustment, and in turn, patient care. Reflection on the past events and actions of the pediatric nurses enable critical discovery of strategies to benefit nurses and ultimately benefit patients. Nine female nurse participants, with between 1 and 4 years experience were interviewed. The meaning of the context of the lived experiences of nurses caring for dying children uncovered seven essential themes of empathy, feelings of ambivalence, inevitability, inspiration, relationship, self-preservation, and sorrow. In identifying these seven themes it was determined that through learning about the lived experiences of nurses caring for dying children adaptation, termed as 'censoring', became apparent. Recognizing 'censoring' helped to understand that the nurse is an adaptive system functioning for a purposeful cause. Nurses care for patients that are sick, patients who are in the throws of suffering, and they may also care for patients who are in the process of dying. The topic of caring for dying children becomes vital when helping nurses transition through the child's dying process because health care professionals may have difficulty adjusting and adapting when illness ends life. Many research sources provide information to help the patient during the dying process, however, there is a paucity of research that provides information for nursing students and bedside nurses to provide help for themselves during the dying process of their patients. Learning about the insights, knowledge, skills, and attitudes of nurses helps to supply knowledge and validate personal experiences. Knowledge gained from this study will provide reasoning and substantiate practices in nursing, increasing knowledge and experience sharing within the domain of pediatric death and dying. Also, lessons can be learned, translated, and transferred to nursing students, bedside nurses, and can be woven into nursing curriculum.