Narratives of the ICU Nurses Caring for Patients and Families During the Dying Process in Taiwan

Wednesday, 1 August 2012: 11:10 AM

Fang-Yu Hsu, MS, RN
Department of Nursing, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Tainan, Taiwan
Nai-Ying Ko, PhD, RN
Department of nursing, College of Medicine, National Chen Kung Universtity, Tainan, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to know how the ICU nurse feel when they caring for dying patients and their families.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to the whole picture when the ICU nurse facing the death.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of the ICU nurses caring for patients and their families during the dying process and to help them define the meaning of these experiences.

 Methods: A narrative inquiry was conducted for ten ICU nurses in a southern Taiwan medical center. A semi-structure interview guide was used for collecting data during the interview.


 Results from this study show five main experiences: 1) “Seeing the suffering and feeling reluctant”- the ICU nurses saw the suffering of the patients and families during the aggressive treatment procedures. They feel reluctant and are moved to provide better care for the dying patients. 2) “Being there to accompany the dying, bringing peace and relief ” - the ICU nurses wish they can provide more emotional and spiritual care for the patients and families. 3) “Feeling conflict, struggle and exhaustion” - The ICU nurses felt emotional conflict, struggle, powerlessness and exhaustion during the caring process. 4) “Having a positive attitude and reorganizing life” - After the feeling of depression, self-reflection helped the ICU nurses change their attitudes and reorganize their lives. 5) “Getting support and looking to the future” - There was a lot of support from colleagues and relatives which helped the ICU nurses get power to look to the future.

Conclusion: From presenting the stories of ICU nurses in context, their experiences can be heard, providing information for the improvement of education, administration and support systems in the future.