Just in KASE: Evaluating Nursing Students’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Self-Efficacy Toward Care for the Dying Patients

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Caring for the dying patient can be distressing for nursing students. End-of-life (EoL) care is an essential skill for the professional nurse, and the nursing student must prepare to provide quality care to these patients. The purposes of this study were to describe the knowledge, self-efficacy, and attitudes toward EoL care among nursing students at a northeastern traditional baccalaureate program and examine correlations between student demographics and outcomes. Nursing students from the sophomore to senior levels were sent an online survey consisting of demographic questions, the Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of the Dying (FATCOD) scale, and Knowledge Assessment and Self-Efficacy Assessment instruments. Multivariate modeling was used to identify correlates of student knowledge, self-efficacy, and attitudes. A total of 69 sophomore (22%), junior (52%), and senior (26%) nursing students completed the survey. Class year was the only correlate of knowledge, whereas student’s attitudes and class year affected their self-efficacy. Students’ attitudes toward EOL care were correlated with ethnicity, previous experience with EOL care, age, and self-efficacy. Enhancing student exposure to EOL care in the clinical environment positively affects their attitudes toward caring for the dying patient. Nursing schools should consider actively incorporating EoL care experiences into their clinical rotations.

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