What is it so stressful about caring for a dying patient? A qualitative study of nurses' experiences

J. Peterson*, M. Johnson, B. Halvorsen, L. Apmann, P. C. Chang, S. Kershek, C. Scherr, M. Ogi, D. Pincon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The nursing shortage continues to be a problem in the United States,in part, owing to the experience of stress and burnout by practicing nurses. With an ageing population, the stress of caring for dying patients and their families is one reason for the high levels of stress and burnout.Although we know that caring for dying patients is stressfulfor nurses, there is little information about the specific aspects of that experience that concern them. In order to alleviate the stress and to help nurses cope more effectively with this situation, this research examined the aspects of caring for a dying patient that cause concern for nurses. This study used a grounded theory approach to examine the experiences of nurses and their particular concerns about caring for a dying patient. Nurses expressed personal concerns, concerns about the patient and their families, which include communication challenges with both patients and families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Palliative Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • Death/dying
  • Nursing
  • Patient care
  • Qualitative
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Medicine(all)


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