Registered nurses’ experience of caring for a dying family member.




Lee, Brenda S.

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Nurses in dual caregiving roles are at high risk for stress and burnout, which may influence nurses’ decisions to leave the nursing profession. This exploratory, descriptive, qualitative study explored registered nurses’ experience of caring for a dying family member. Fourteen nurses were recruited and rich descriptions of their experiences were gained through individual face-to-face interviews. Three important themes were identified through data analysis: knowing the ropes which captures the assets nurses brought to their family caregiving experience from their professional knowledge and association with the health care system; caught in the middle, which highlights tensions the nurses faced as they negotiated their professional and personal boundaries; and gaining insights, which describes nurses’ insights about themselves and their practice gleaned from caring for a dying family member. The findings suggest that lack of support from the formal health care system may compound the stress of caregiving for nurses and may lead to health problems. Therefore, it behooves HCPs, health organizations and policy makers to individualize interventions and design palliative programs to address the unique needs of nurses caring for a dying family member.



Caregivers, Terminal care, Nursing