Attitudes toward terminal care among nursing students

M. Irie, N. Mishima, S. Nagata

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Two hundred and ninety nursing students were examined using a questionnaire regarding their interest in and understanding of patients' mental state, interest in terminal care and hope of practicing it, their ways of thinking in relation to artificial prolongation of life and giving cancer information to other persons, family members or receiving it themselves, experience of being an outpatient or having been admitted into a hospital, and experience of a death in their family. The results were as follows. (1) Although the majority of students were interested in the mental states and terminal care of patients, only a minority of them understood the meaning of mental states and hoped to practice terminal care. (2) Regarding attitudes toward artificial prolongation of life, 'passive prolongation' was most accepted when compared to 'passive euthanasia' or 'active prolongation' which was rarely supported. On the contrary, an increased proportion of 'active prolongation' and 'passive euthanasia' were observed when they were asked regarding their own family members. Most of the students opted for 'passive euthanasia' for themselves. (3) Concerning whether or not to inform a patient of cancer, most of the students generally agreed to tell patients the real diagnosis. However, it was seen that many students would tell a member of their family the truth if possible, but there was an increase in the number of those who would tell the member of the family directly and those who would refrain from telling the truth if possible. Most of them wanted to be told about their own cancer. (4) Those students who had experienced being in a hospital as an outpatient tended to want 'passive euthanasia' for themselves. Those who had experienced time in a hospital were inclined to be more interested in terminal care and to directly inform a patient of his/her real diagnosis. Furthermore, those who had never experienced a death in their family tended to desire to be told when they had cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-592
Number of pages8
JournalJapanese Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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