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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date

1999

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Margaret Hegge

Keywords

palliative treatment, nurse attitudes

Abstract

This study was designed to assess the current knowledge and perceptions of palliative care of nurses in a Midwestern Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). The specific research questions were:
1. What is the current state of knowledge of palliative care, current perceptions about nurses' spiritual role and current perceptions about the hospital climate towards palliative care of all nurses in a Midwestern Veterans hospital?
2. What is the difference between the different educational levels of nurses and their knowledge of palliative care, perceptions about nurses' spiritual role and perceptions about the hospital climate towards palliative care?
3. What is the difference between nurses from different practice areas and their knowledge of palliative care, perceptions about nurses' spiritual role and perceptions about the hospital climate towards palliative care?
4. What is the difference between experienced nurses and inexperienced nurses in their knowledge of palliative care, perceptions about nurses' spiritual role and perceptions about the hospital climate towards palliative care?
All registered nurses and licensed practical nurses from a Midwestern VAMC were Invited to complete a palliative care survey which consisted of demographic data, the Palliative Care Quiz for Nursing and the Health Professional's Spiritual Role Scale. Additional data was obtained regarding the nurses' perception of hospital climate towards palliative care by using visual analog scales and open ended questions regarding perceived barriers and perceived supportive factors.
Surveys were distributed to all registered nurses and licensed practical nurses within the designated medical center. All Information was anonymous with no Identifying data on the survey. All participants were Instructed not to Include their names. Completion and return of the survey was considered Informed consent, which was explained in the cover letter. Ninety of the one hundred sixty three of the potential subjects returned surveys for a response rate of 55.2%.
Results of the study Indicated nurses had a lack of knowledge of palliative care Including principles of palliative care, pain and symptom management and psychosocial and spiritual aspects of palliative care. Educational level, years of experience and practice setting made no significant difference on knowledge scores.
Nurses had a positive perspective of their role In providing spiritual care for dying patients with mean scores on the Health Professional's Spiritual Role Scale of 105.4 out of a possible ISO. Educational level, years of experience and practice setting made no significant difference on nurses' perception of their role in providing spiritual care.
Nurses' perception of hospital support for palliative care through continuing education, adequate staffing and providers overall acceptance of palliative care was low. Top supportive factors for palliative care identified by nurses included chaplain services, caring nurses, analgesic options, hospice room, family involvement, end of life counseling, living wills, an interdisciplinary approach, good oncologist and adequate staffing. Barriers to palliative care identified by nurses included short staffing, lack of time, lack of privacy, physician reluctance, lack of funding, teaching hospital/aggressive treatment, lack of education on end of life issues for nurses and physicians, lack of communication, lack of education on pain and symptom management for nurses and denial of terminal condition.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Palliative treatment
Nurses -- Attitudes

Format

application/pdf

Number of Pages

118

Publisher

South Dakota State University

Rights

Copyright © 1999 Patricia Snow. All rights reserved

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