An Integrative Review on Knowledge and Attitudes of Nurses Toward Palliative Care: Implications for Practice


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Abstract

To effectively participate in provision of palliative care, nurses need to possess a combination of knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes in equal measure in a way that is sensitive and meaningful and in a dynamic manner. The aim of this review was to examine nurses’ knowledge and attitudes about palliative care, to identify gaps to improve care of patients and families facing death. An integrative review method guided this review. After implementation of a search strategy, data from 26 studies were analyzed and synthesized. The Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool was used to assess the methodological quality of the studies. Data were extracted using a common table, and themes were generated from the available peer-reviewed studies using narrative synthesis. Findings revealed knowledge deficit but favorable attitudes toward palliative care among nurses. Education and the clinical experience of nurses in palliative care influenced their knowledge and attitudes toward palliative care. There is a need for mandatory inclusion of basic palliative care content in nursing school curricula and more in-depth postgraduate curricula. In clinical practice, there is a need to reinforce palliative care education by creating expert nurse support networks to model excellence in palliative care.

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