Date of Conferral
Nurses spend more time with patients than members of any other discipline in the hospital setting, and most nurses will provide care for dying patients. However, nurses tend to feel uncomfortable providing care to dying patients, which may be due to a lack of education and knowledge about care for dying patients. The purpose of this quasiexperimental 1-group pretest-posttest study was to determine the effect education had on nursing students' attitudes and perceptions about the care they give to their patients at the end of life. The End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) education modules were used for quality training in end of life care. The study was guided by the transformational learning theory, which holds that one's beliefs can change from what was previously learned to what is newly learned. For the pretest, 49 participants completed the Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of the Dying questionnaire. One week after the ELNEC training, 46 participants took the posttest. Because matching of scores was not possible, an independent t test was used that indicated there was a significant difference in the pre- to posttest perceptions and attitudes of the participants (p = .01). Specific end of life education did have an impact on the student nurse regarding end of life care. The results show that end of life education in nursing school curricula can make a difference in the attitudes of nursing students about caring for the dying. Recommendations for future studies include a longitudinal study to determine the lasting effects of end of life education. By providing more education on end of life care in the nursing school curricula, future nurses will be prepared to provide dying patients and their families with quality care.