The Lived Experience of Nurses Providing End-of-Life Care to Patients on an Acute Medical Unit

Title: The Lived Experience of Nurses Providing End-of-Life Care to Patients on an Acute Medical Unit
Authors: Oliveira, Irene
Date: 2014
Abstract: Meeting the heath care needs of patients is becoming more complex as individuals are living longer and often with multiple chronic health conditions. In Canada, the majority of patients will die in hospitals (Statistics Canada, 2009), many on medical units. Studies of hospital care have shown that end-of-life care (EOLC) could be improved. Qualitative nursing research studies on EOLC in hospital medical units have been few. More needs to be known about nurses’ experience of providing EOLC within the medical unit environment. The purpose of this study was to seek to understand the lived experience of nurses on a medical unit providing EOLC to patients. Interpretive phenomenology using van Manen’s (1990) approach guided the methodology and analysis of the findings. Face to face interviews with 10 nurses on two hospital medical units were audio-recorded, transcribed and analyzed. The underlying essence of these nurses’ experience was that of “battling a tangled web”. Battling a tangled web represented the nurses’ struggles in attempting to provide EOLC in an environment which was not always conducive to it. Seven themes were generated from the analysis of the data: caring in complexity, caught in a tangled web, bearing witness to suffering, weaving a way to get there: struggling through the process, creating comfort for the patient, working through the dying process with the family, and finding a way through the web. These findings add to our growing knowledge of nurses’ roles and actions as part of EOLC. It also highlights nurses’ perceived facilitators and barriers to EOLC within the medical environment.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -