Undergraduate nursing students' knowledge about palliative care and attitudes towards end-of-life care: a three-cohort, cross-sectional survey.

Dimoula, M., Kotronoulas, G. , Katsaragakis, S., Christou, M., Sgourou, S. and Patiraki, E. (2019) Undergraduate nursing students' knowledge about palliative care and attitudes towards end-of-life care: a three-cohort, cross-sectional survey. Nurse Education Today, 74, pp. 7-14. (doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2018.11.025) (PMID:30554033)

176854.pdf - Accepted Version



Background: Ensuring adequate knowledge about palliative care and positive attitudes towards death and dying are crucial educational aspects when preparing undergraduate nursing students to respond effectively to the complexities of care for people affected by a progressive, life-limiting illness. In undergraduate nursing education in Greece, the level of students' attained knowledge and developed attitudes towards palliative and end-of-life care remain unknown. Purpose: To investigate undergraduate nursing students' knowledge about palliative care and attitudes towards death and end-of-life care, and explore demographic and academic factors as potential moderators of student knowledge and attitudes. Methods: We conducted a descriptive, cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey. We recruited 2nd, 3rd and 4th year undergraduate nursing students from the country's two University Faculties. Participants completed a demographic form, the Palliative Care Quiz for Nursing (PCQN), and the Frommelt Attitudes Towards Care of the Dying (FATCOD) questionnaire. Results: The final sample was 529 students (response rate = 87.6%). Mean total PCQN scores revealed low levels of knowledge. Knowledge about pain/symptom management and psychosocial/spiritual care was insufficient. Mean total FATCOD scores indicated positive, liberal and supportive attitudes towards end-of-life care, with 60% of respondents keen to care for a dying person and their family. We noted less positive attitudes mainly in relation to student comfort with the care of a dying person and his/her imminent death. Academic parameters (year of study) and student demographic characteristics (older age) were the most significant moderators of both knowledge and attitudes. Greater knowledge about palliative care was a relatively weak, yet significant, predictor of more liberal attitudes towards care of the dying. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that structured courses in palliative care can be a core part of undergraduate nursing education. Specific attention could be given to such areas patient-health professional communication, misconceptions and biases towards death and dying, and comfort in caring for the dying in order to prepare student nurses to psychologically deal with the sensitive and challenging process of death and dying.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kotronoulas, Dr Greg
Authors: Dimoula, M., Kotronoulas, G., Katsaragakis, S., Christou, M., Sgourou, S., and Patiraki, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Nursing and Health Care
Journal Name:Nurse Education Today
ISSN (Online):1532-2793
Published Online:07 December 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Nurse Education Today 74:7-14
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record