A comparative study of death anxiety in hospice and emergency nurses
This paper describes a preliminary cross-sectional study which aimed to compare levels of death anxiety and coping responses in palliative care and accident and emergency (A & E) nurses. Forty-three nurses (23 from palliative care and 20 from A & E) were recruited from a district general hospital and nearby hospice. Both sites had the same mean annual death rate of 150 patients. Death anxiety was measured by the Death Attitude Profile-Revised Questionnaire and coping responses were elicited by a semi-structured interview. As hypothesized, hospice nurses had lower death anxiety and they were more likely to recall both good and difficult experiences related to patient care. Unlike the hospice nurses, a subgroup (20%) of A & E nurses reported that they were unable to discuss problems with colleagues. The study has implications for the development of institutional support for staff to enable nurses to provide good quality care for dying patients and bereaved people.