Student nurses’ experience of, and attitudes toward care of the dying: a cross sectional study

Catherine Grubb, Antony Arthur

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Background: Nurses are the professional group with the greatest contact with those at the end of life and their attitudes toward the care of the dying is important in care delivery.
Aim: We investigated the relationship between student nurses’ attitudes towards care of the dying and (i) demographics, (ii) course factors, and (iii) experience of caring for people who are dying.
Design: A cross sectional survey using the Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of the Dying (FATCOD) scale to measure respondents’ attitudes.
Setting/participants: Nursing students studying at a university in the United Kingdom.
Results: A total of 567 completed questionnaires were returned, with 91.9% of respondents being classed as having a positive attitude toward care of the dying (FACTCOD score ≥65). In adjusted analysis, higher (more positive) FATCOD scores were associated with time on course and experience of caring for the dying. Third year students had a score of 2.18 points greater than those in their first year (95% CI 0.36 to 4.01, p=0.017). The adjusted differences in scores were 2.22 points greater for those who had prepared a dead body (95% CI 0.57 to 3.87, p=0.008), 2.95 points greater for those who had cared for a dying patient (95% CI 1.09 to 4.08 p=0.002), and 2.03 points greater for those who had cared for a dying relative or friend (95% CI 0.69 to 3.37, p=0.003).
Length of time in education and practical experience of caring for dying individuals are independently associated with positive attitudes towards care of the dying among student nurses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
JournalPalliative Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date17 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Palliative care
  • Nursing students
  • Education
  • Life experiences
  • Cross-sectional study

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