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Existential encounters: Nurses' descriptions of critical incidents in end-of-life cancer care
Univ Skovde, Sch Hlth & Educ, Skovde, Sweden.
Univ Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Acad, Inst Hlth & Care Sci, SE-40530 Gothenburg, Sweden.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9623-5813
University of Gothenburg, The Sahlgrenska Academy, Institute of Health and Care Sciences, Göteborg, Sweden.
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2014 (English)In: European Journal of Oncology Nursing, ISSN 1462-3889, E-ISSN 1532-2122, Vol. 18, no 6, 636-644 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Nurses working with cancer patients in end of life care need to be prepared to encounter patients' psychosocial and spiritual distress. Aim: The aim of this study was to describe nurses' experiences of existential situations when caring for patients severely affected by cancer. Methods and sample: Nurses (registered and enrolled) from three urban in-patient hospices, an oncology clinic and a surgery clinic and a palliative homecare team were, prior to the start of a training program, invited to write down their experiences of a critical incident (CI), in which existential issues were featured. Results: Eighty-eight CIs were written by 83 nurses. The CIs were analyzed with qualitative content analysis. Two main themes were found: Encounters with existential pain experiences, which concerned facing death and facing losses; and Encountering experiences of hope, which concerned balancing honesty, and desire to live. Conclusions: This study points out that health care professionals need to be aware of patients' feelings of abandonment in exposed situations such as patients' feelings of existential loneliness. That there are some patients that express a desire to die and this makes the nurses feel uncomfortable and difficult to confront these occurrences and its therefore important to listen to patients' stories, regardless of care organization, in order to gain access to patients' inner existential needs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 18, no 6, 636-644 p.
Keyword [en]
Cancer, Critical incidents, End of life care, Existential encounters, Nurses' experiences
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-22925DOI: 10.1016/j.ejon.2014.06.001ISI: 000346222800015Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84912048803OAI: diva2:746054
Available from: 2014-09-11 Created: 2014-09-11 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

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