Factors Impacting Pediatric Registered Nurse Attitudes Toward Caring For Dying Children And Their Families: A Descriptive Study

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Journal of Pediatric Nursing


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to gain knowledge of the educational preparation and attitudes of registered nurses at a southeastern pediatric hospital toward caring for dying children and their families. Design and methods: A descriptive study with two independent samples was used to examine the attitudes of registered nurses at a pediatric hospital in southeastern United States. Participants completed the Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of the Dying Scale, Form B, a 30-item survey. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze data. Results: One hundred and thirty-two registered nurses participated in the study. Results indicated a statistically significant difference in attitudes toward caring for dying pediatric patient scores in registered nurses working in the hematology/oncology and intensive care units compared to the other units (p = 0.0017; 95% CI: 2.39–10.12). Conclusions: This study described the educational preparation and attitudes of registered nurses who care for children who are dying and their families. Additionally, pediatric end-of-life care is complex and is further influenced by experiences and attitudes. Future research is needed to identify educational needs to care for pediatric patients and their families at the end of life. Practice implications: Findings from this project indicated end-of-life care education should be integrated into undergraduate curricula. New nurse graduates who are entering the workforce should receive education on end-of-life care, especially if they are entering into a pediatric specific organization. Healthcare organizations should include end-of-life care education as part of the orientation process and annual competency process.

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