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Published online: 2024-05-16

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Attitudes towards death among the nursing staff in oncology departments and hospices

Kinga Jaglak1, Ewa Kobos1

Abstract

Background: Attitude towards death is the way people perceive the process of dying, as well as related emotions, moods and ones own assessment of death. The attitude towards life transience, particularly among the nursing staff dealing with terminally ill patients in their daily practice, is of key importance for the way of perceiving the purposefulness and validity of their work. This study aimed to analyze of attitudes towards death among the nursing staff in hospices and oncology departments.

Participants and methods: Overall, 159 members of the nursing staff in stationary hospices and oncology departments participated in the study. The Death Attitude Profile-Revised (DAP-R) was used to collect research material. A statistical analysis of the findings was conducted using the Student's t-test, ANOVA, Mann–Whitney U test and the Kruskal–Wallis test.

Results: The median (Me) results for the particular dimensions were as follows: approach acceptance: Me = 42, fear of death: Me = 27, neutral acceptance: Me = 29, death avoidance: Me = 17, and escape acceptance: Me = 21. Concerning neutral acceptance, the median values for the oncology hospital and hospice staff members were Me = 29 and Me = 26, respectively.

Conclusions: Oncology nurses show a higher tendency towards neutral acceptance compared to the hospice staff. The respondents with a secondary level education demonstrated a higher tendency towards escape acceptance and death avoidance. Nurses with previous experience in oncology, hospice or palliative care in addition to their current job demonstrate a higher tendency towards fear of death.

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Palliative Medicine in Practice