Registered Nurses' attitudes towards end-of-life care: A sequential explanatory mixed method study

Publication Name

Journal of Clinical Nursing


Aims: To examine registered nurses' attitudes about end-of-life care and explore the barriers and facilitators that influence the provision of high-quality end-of-life care. Design: A sequential explanatory mixed methods research design was used. Methods: An online cross-sectional survey was distributed to 1293 registered nurses working in five different hospitals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Frommelt Attitudes Towards Care of the Dying Scale was used to assess nurses' attitudes towards end-of-life care. Following the survey, a subset of registered nurses were interviewed using individual semi-structured interviews. Results: Four hundred and thirty-one registered nurses completed the online survey, and 16 of them participated in individual interviews. Although nurses reported positive attitudes towards caring for dying patients and their families in most items, they identified negative attitudes towards talking with patients about death, their relationship with patients' families and controlling their emotions. The individual interview data identified the barriers and facilitators that registered nurses experience when providing end-of-life care. Barriers included a lack of communication skills and family and cultural and religious resistance to end-of-life care. The facilitators included gaining support from colleagues and patients' families. Conclusion: This study has identified that while registered nurses hold generally favourable attitudes towards end-of-life care, they have negative attitudes towards talking with patients and families about death and managing their emotional feelings. Relevance to clinical practice: Education providers and leaders in healthcare settings should consider developing programmes for undergraduate nurses and nurses in clinical practice to raise awareness about the concept of death in a cross-section of cultures. Nurses' attitudes towards dying patients will be enhanced with culture-specific knowledge which will also enhance communication and coping methods. Reporting method: This study used the Mixed Methods Article Reporting Standards (MMARS).

Open Access Status

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Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

University of Hafr Al Batin



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