Debriefing Pediatric End-of-Life Care Through Personal Reflection

Wednesday, 1 August 2012: 9:10 AM

Rebecca Lee Meyer, RN, BSN, MSN, PhD
School of Nursing, California Baptist University, Riverside, CA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to evaluate the importance of personal reflection for nursing students in the learning process related to end of life care.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to examine evidence-based practice related to end-of-life care for children.

Scope: Education for nursing professionals is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Institute of Medicine about caring for dying children. Improving education and support for nurses is important so they can then educate and support families and patients. Utilizing experiential learning about the types of patients experiencing palliative treatment/therapies and end of life care needs to start in nursing schools so that newly graduating nurses have an increased awareness of how to care for dying children. Didactic education should include ways to facilitate integration of spirituality, culture, communication, and how to establish caring relationships during a difficult situation.

Objectives: All nursing students at both the undergraduate and graduate level are required to write a personal reflection paper about end-of-life care. This paper includes requirements for the students to integrate spirituality (their own and/or their patient’s), nursing theory, and their personal thoughts and fears.

Literature: Original researchers who have published articles about caring for dying children include Betty Davies, Judy Rashotte, and Danai Papadatou. Students choose a recent article on the topic of end-of-life or palliative care and write a reflection paper which includes personal reflection and at least 3 ways the information will be used by the student to improve his/her practice in the clinical setting.

Findings: This paper enables the student to process each stressful event in a safe environment and decrease potential feelings of hopelessness and fear which may impact their practice. It also validates for the students that these experiences have a lasting impact and are part of the art and science of nursing.