Palliative care nurses’ perceptions of good and bad deaths and care expectations: a qualitative analysis Academic Article uri icon

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  • Individuals who are involved with the death of a person with a terminal illness will often classify the death as either 'good' or 'bad'. Families and healthcare practitioners assess many factors when determining their 'success' or 'failure' in assisting someone in the terminal phase. Palliative care nurses are particularly vulnerable to self-assessments about care of the dying, because death is a daily occurrence. Feelings of failure, unmet expectations and feeling of regret about not being able to prevent a traumatic death may be a source of stress for palliative care nurse and may affect their abilities to function effectively. This article reports the findings of a study involving interviews with 20 palliative care nurses to determine their perceptions of a good and bad death. The study also examined the expectations they hold of themselves and that they believe others hold of them in helping patients to attain a good death. Clinical implications are discussed based on these findings.


  • Kristjanson, Linda J
  • McPhee, Irene
  • Pickstock, Sarah
  • Wilson, Denise
  • Oldham, Lynn
  • Martin, Karen

publication date

  • March 2001