Date of Award/Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Advanced Practice Nursing

First Supervisor

Nancy Wilk

Second Supervisor

Christine Nelson-Tuttle



Background: Death of patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) is often sudden and unexpected. When ICU care transitions from curative to palliative, nursing staff frequently feel ill prepared to effectively care for dying patients and their families [1, 2]. The purpose of this study was to identify ICU nursing staff’s perception of the effectiveness of current end-of-life care (EOLC) education methods and their preparedness to deliver EOLC to dying patients and their families.

Methods: A newly developed online survey was utilized on Qualtrics survey generator and distributed through social media to allow for snowball sampling. Descriptive statistics were used through Excel to examine past employment and educational experience along with nursing staffs level of preparedness and comfort with providing EOLC.

Results: Over eighty percent of nurses received some form of formal education as part of their undergraduate or graduate education, while only one third received formal training from their institution of employment. Most nurses felt that more education was required to better prepare staff to provide care. Barriers to providing high-quality EOLC included lack of time, lack of resources, lack of education, and other, which included “provider push back from surgeons,” “lack of doctor education,” and “families often need more information from the providers.” Supports to providing high-quality EOLC included formal training, leadership resources, palliative care consult team and other, which included “social work,” “chaplain,” “other staff nurses,” and “facilities (eg private waiting room/conference room).”

Conclusions: Although death is a common occurrence in the ICU, the training and education for staff providing care is not sufficient. Future research examining family member satisfaction after implementation of EOLC and bereavement education would be beneficial to correlate nurses’ perceptions of the care provided with family members perceptions.

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