Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2013 Jun;16(2):108-117. 10.14475/kjhpc.2013.16.2.108.

Nurses Attitudes toward Death, Coping with Death and Understanding and Performance Regarding EOL Care: Focus on Nurses at ED, ICU and Oncology Department

  • 1Hospice and Palliative Care Team, Severance Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Severance Hospital, Seoul, Korea. soyosolo@yuhs.ac
  • 3College of Nursing & The Nursing Policy Research Institute, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.


The objectives of this study were to 1) explore nurses' attitudes toward death, coping with death, understanding and performance regarding end-of-life (EOL) care, 2) describe correlations among the above factors, and 3) determine the factors affecting nurses' EOL care performance.
Study participants were 187 nurses stationed at departments that post higher mortality than others such as the oncology department, intensive care unit (ICU) and emergency department (ED). Data were collected from three urban university-affiliated hospitals. Multi-dimensional measure was performed for study instruments such as "attitude toward death", "coping with death" and "understanding and performance regarding EOL care". Data were analyzed by using descriptive statistics, correlation, and multiple regressions.
First, nurses showed significantly different attitudes toward death by age, religion, work unit and EOL care education. Younger nurses tend to score low on the understanding of EOL care, and ED nurses' score was lower than their peers at the oncology department and ICU. Second, EOL care performance was positively correlated with attitude toward death (P<0.001), coping with death (P=0.003) and understanding of EOL care (P<0.001). Third, nurses' EOL care performance was affected by work unit (P<0.001) and understanding of EOL care (P<0.001).
Because nurses' performance was influenced by their work unit and understanding of EOL care, they should be provided with appropriate training to improve their understanding of death and EOL care according to work unit.


Terminal care; Attitude to death; Psychological adaptation; Perception; Nursing education

MeSH Terms

Adaptation, Psychological
Attitude to Death
Education, Nursing
Intensive Care Units
Terminal Care
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