Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Nursing


School of Nursing


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Anne McMurray


The study reported in this thesis describes and analyses the lived experience of caring for the dying amongst nine (9) nurses in a hospice setting. The research was established within the context of published literature on the subject of caring for the dying from nursing. A qualitative, phenomenological approach was chosen as the most appropriate for this study, in order to describe and interpret the understanding and shared meanings nurses have in the care of the dying. The major mode of data collection in this study was by in depth interview of nine (9) nurses, which was supplemented by the researcher's field notes. Data collection, data analysis and validation took place concurrently. Five key themes were identified from the information by the nurse participants which explain the structure of the lived experience of nurses caring for the dying. These themes are; being transformed by the experience, the influence of context on caring, the embodiment of caring, caring for the family, and coping. The findings of this study support, in part, related findings in published literature. However, this study extends prior research by capturing the essence of the experience of nurses caring for the dying, in the context of hospice care. The major implications for nursing practice are that nurses who care for the dying need an awareness of the processes involved in caring for the dying to better understand their own, and their patients' experiences. Several recommendations were made for further research which would substantiate and extend this work.

Included in

Nursing Commons