Promoting Neonatal Staff Nurses' Comfort and Involvement in End-of-Life and Bereavement Care

Friday, 17 July 2009: 8:50 AM

Weihua Zhang, PhD, RN
Adult and Elder Health Department, School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Betty L. Glenn, PhD, RN, MSN
Nursing, Clayton State University and Southern Regional Medical Center, Morrow, GA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to summarize a potentially effective seminar for nurses who are caring for end of life neonatal patients and families.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to conclude that nurse’s comfort level can be improved by attending continuing education.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a bereavement seminar on the attitudes of nurses regarding end of life (EOL) and palliative care of neonates. 
Methods: A pre and post test design with an intervention (n=14) and control group (n =44) was used to assess changes in nurse bereavement attitudes in relationship to the domains of Comfort, Role, and Involvement.  The setting for the study was a community hospital in the Southeast.  A convenience sample of nurses who provide care to neonates completed a Bereavement/End of Life Attitudes about Care of Neonatal Nurses Scale (BEACONNS). 
Results: Bereavement seminar attendees had higher levels of comfort post-seminar in providing end of life care than nurses in the control group (t = -3.37, p = .01). 
Conclusion: The results of this study support the use of a Bereavement seminar to increase nurse comfort levels in the provision of EOL/bereavement care to infants and families. The comfort level increments could be the result of the seminar content as well as the interactions among nurses during the day-long seminar.  This concluded that nurse’s comfort level can be improved by attending continuing education on end of life care and having their thoughts on ethical issues in end of life care acknowledged by their peers.