Registered nurses’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about end-of-life care in non-specialist palliative care settings: A mixed studies review

Publication Name

Nurse Education in Practice


Aim: The aim of this study was to describe, evaluate and synthesise the literature on registered nurses’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards end-of-life care in adult non-specialist palliative care settings. Background: Little is known about the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of Registered Nurses working in non-specialist palliative care settings about end-of-life care. Design: A mixed-methods systematic review and narrative synthesis was conducted (PROSPERO Registration No: CRD4202148114). Five databases (Medline, CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO and Web of Science) were searched from inception to August 2020. Study quality was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Results: Nineteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Registered nurses in non-specialist palliative care settings demonstrated good knowledge of pain symptoms and management and positive attitudes towards caring for dying patients and their families. Knowledge deficits were identified in the psychosocial and spiritual aspects of end-of-life care and registered nurses reported negative attitudes towards communication about death. Only five of the included studies explored registered nurses’ beliefs towards end-of-life care. Conclusions: There is a need to enhance palliative care education in clinical practice settings and in undergraduate programs to improve registered nurses’ knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about end-of-life care. Future studies that use reliable and validated methods to measure registered nurses’ beliefs about end-of-life care should be conducted. Tweetable abstract: RNs in non-specialist palliative care settings want more education on pain management & greater knowledge on communicating about death/dying.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access



Article Number


Funding Sponsor

Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia



Link to publisher version (DOI)