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Can death be simulated? Teaching End-of-Life Care with Simulation in Nursing Education

  • Background: In 2021, a significant proportion of adult deaths in Germany, comprising of 447,473 individuals, occurred within hospital settings, representing nearly half of the total deaths in the country, which numbered 1,023,687 (statistika 2021). Consequently, nurses play a pivotal role as primary caregivers for this patient group, necessitating comprehensive education to address their specific needs. Existing literature suggests that nursing students often lack the adequate preparation to provide care for this group, with factors such as insufficient theoretical knowledge and suboptimal mentoring during clinical placements (Bloomfield et al. 2015; Gillan et al. 2014; Leighton 2009, Leighton/Dubas 2009). The use of simulation has proven effective in bridging the theory-practice gap, particularly in the context of End-of-Life Care. The objective of this study was to assess nursing students' perceptions of the use of simulation in learning about End-of-Life Care (Gillan et al. 2014; Moreland et al. 2012). Methods: Over a three-year period, three cohorts of third-year nursing students at Fulda University of Applied Sciences engaged in simulated experiences involving a dying patient and one or more family members. The authors created three different scenarios in which the students had to perform oral care, break bad news to family members and administer palliative pain medication. During the simulations, the family member(s) confronted the students with questions concerning spiritual care and improving the quality of life at this stage. This project utilized a qualitative design. After the simulation and debriefing sessions, semi-structured interviews and group discussion were conducted. After transcribing, the interviews were analyzed using open and axial coding, after the Glaser and Strauss approach to Grounded Theory. Results: The process of theoretical coding yielded five results: Simulation revealed to be a good tool to learn about End-of-Life Care (1), simulation focused on communication (2), the importance of spiritual care (3), the aspect of realism (4) and a lack of theoretical knowledge (5). Conclusion: Simulation-based learning seems to be a valuable tool in the teaching of End-of-Life-Care especially with a focus on communication.

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Author:Anna Christine Steinacker, Victoria Kreiss
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2023/11/28
Year of first Publication:2023
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Fulda
Release Date:2023/11/29
Tag:End-of-Life-Care; Nurse Education; Simulation; Simulation-based Learning; palliative care
Licence (German):License LogoEinfaches Nutzungsrecht

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