Death and Help Expected from Nurses when Dying


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Abstract

This project was undertaken to ascertain the perceptions of a group of Taiwan's fourth-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) students regarding death and help expected from nurses during the dying process. Within the Chinese culture, death is one of the most important life issues. However, in many Chinese societies it is difficult for people to reveal their deepest feelings to their significant others or loved ones. It was in this context that this project was developed because little is known about how Taiwan's nursing students perceive death and the dying process. Using an open-ended, self-report questionnaire, 110 senior BSN students recorded their thoughts on: (1) their fears before physical death; (2) afterlife destinations; and (3) the help they would expect from nurses when dying. The data were analyzed using a three-layer qualitative thematic analysis. The students' reported needs during the dying process were directed towards three main goals: (1) help in reaching the ‘triple targets of individual life’; (2) help in facilitating in-depth support so that both the dying person and significant others can experience a blessed farewell; and (3) help in reaching a destination in the afterlife. The results support the belief of dying as a transition occurring when life weans itself from the mortal world and prepares for an afterlife.

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