Factors Influencing Chinese Nursing Students’ Attitudes Toward the Care of Dying Patients

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Abstract

Nursing students play a very important role in providing care for dying patients in clinical practice, but little is known about the attitudes of nursing students in China. The aims of this study were to describe Chinese nursing students’ attitudes toward the care of dying patients and to describe the factors influencing these attitudes. A cross-sectional design was used, and the data were obtained from self-administered questionnaires. A convenience sample of 1133 nursing students was recruited from 8 nursing schools. Measurements included the demographic form and the Chinese version of the Frommelt Attitudes Toward Care of the Dying Scale, Form B. The mean score of all Frommelt Attitudes Toward Care of the Dying Scale, Form B items was 95.42 (SD, 6.76). More positive attitudes toward the care of dying patients were associated with willingness to care for dying persons, having religious beliefs, having received education on death and dying, having previous experience caring for dying patients, and currently anticipating the loss of a loved one. Factors predicting nursing students’ attitudes toward the care of dying patients included previous education on death and dying, willingness to care for dying persons, previous experience caring for dying patients, and religious beliefs, with an explanatory power of 20%. This study contributes to a better understanding of the factors that underlie nursing students’ attitudes toward caring for dying patients. Educational programs on end-of-life care for nursing students should be targeted to those nursing students who are unwilling to care for dying persons, those without religious beliefs, those with no previous education on death and dying, or those with no experience caring for dying patients.

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