Nursing research indicates that serious illness and impending death influence the individual's self-image. Few studies define what self-image means. Thus it seems to be urgent to explore how nurses in palliative care perceive the concept of self-image, to get a deeper insight into the concept's applicability in palliative care.
To explore how nurses in palliative care perceive the concept of self-image.
Qualitative descriptive design.
In-depth interviews with 17 nurses in palliative care were analysed using phenomenography. The study gained ethical approval.
The concept of self-image was perceived as both a familiar and an unfamiliar concept. Four categories of description with a gradually increasing complexity were distinguished: Identity, Self-assessment, Social function and Self-knowledge. They represent the collective understanding of the concept and are illustrated in a 'self-image map'. The identity-category emerged as the most comprehensive one and includes the understanding of 'Who I am' in a multidimensional way.
The collective understanding of the concept of self-image include multi-dimensional aspects which not always were evident for the individual nurse. Thus, the concept of self-image needs to be more verbalised and reflected on if nurses are to be comfortable with it and adopt it in their caring context. The 'self-image map' can be used in this reflection to expand the understanding of the concept. If the multi-dimensional aspects of the concept self-image could be explored there are improved possibilities to make identity-promoting strategies visible and support person-centred care.
The experience of hope among cancer patients in palliative care is important information for healthcare providers, but research on the subject is sparse. The aim of this article was to explore how cancer patients admitted to palliative home care experienced the significance of hope and used hope during 6 weeks throughout the last phase of their life, and to assess their symptoms and hope status during 6 weeks throughout the last phase of their lives.
Eleven adult patients with cancer participated in 20 interviews and completed seven diaries. The participants were recruited from two palliative care units in the southeast of Sweden. The method used was Grounded Theory (GT), and analysis was based on the constant comparative method.
The core category, glimmering embers, was generated from four processes: (1) The creation of "convinced" hope, with a focus on positive events, formed in order to have something to look forward to; (2) The creation of "simulated hope," including awareness of the lack of realism, but including attempts to believe in unrealistic reasons for hope; (3) The collection of and maintaining of moments of hope, expressing a wish to "seize the day" and hold on to moments of joy and pleasure; and (4) "Gradually extinct" hope, characterized by a lack of energy and a sense of time running out.
The different processes of hope helped the patients to continue to live when they were close to death. Hope should be respected and understood by the professionals giving them support.
Attitudes toward euthanasia differ between individuals and populations, and in many studies the medical profession is more reluctant than the general public. Our goal was to explore medical students' attitude toward euthanasia. A questionnaire containing open-ended questions was answered anonymously by 165 first- and fifth-year medical students. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis with no predetermined categories. The students' arguments opposing euthanasia were based on opinions of 1. euthanasia being morally wrong, 2. fear of possible negative effects on society, 3. euthanasia causing strain on physicians and 4. doubts about the true meaning of requests of euthanasia from patients. Arguments supporting euthanasia were based on 1. patients' autonomy and 2. the relief of suffering, which could be caused by severe illnesses, reduced integrity, hopelessness, social factors and old age. There are several contradictions in the students' arguments and the results indicate a possible need for education focusing on the possibility of symptom control in palliative care and patients' perceived quality of life.
To describe Swedish first-year undergraduate nursing students' attitudes toward care of dying patients. Possible influences such as age, earlier care experiences, care education, experiences of meeting dying patients and place of birth were investigated.
The Frommelt Attitude Toward Care of the Dying Scale (FATCOD) was used in six universities. Descriptive statistics and regression analysis were used.
Some 371 students (67.3%) reported overall positive attitude toward caring for dying patients (total mean FATCOD 119.5, SD 10.6) early in their first semester. Older students, students with both earlier care experience and earlier education, those with experience of meeting a dying person, and students born in Sweden reported the highest scores, a more positive attitude.
Age, earlier care experience and education, experiences of meeting a dying person and place of birth seems to affect students' attitudes toward care of the dying and need to be considered among nursing educators.
The objective of this study was to enhance the depth of existing knowledge about meanings and experiential outcomes of bodily care in the context of an inpatient specialist palliative setting.
Interpretative phenomenology was chosen as the study sought to explore individuals' lived experiences related to bodily care. Nine participants (five women, four men) of various ages and with various metastasized cancers and bodily-care needs, all from one specialist palliative care ward, participated. Data were collected with repeated narrative interviews and supplementary participating observations. Analysis was informed by van Manen's approach.
The following meanings and experiential outcomes of bodily care were revealed by our study: maintaining and losing body capability, breaching borders of bodily integrity, being comforted and relieved in bodily-care situations, and being left in distress with unmet needs. These meanings overlap and shape the nature of each other and involve comforting and distressing experiences related to what can be described as conditional dimensions: the particular situation, one's own experiences of the body, and healthcare professionals' approaches.
The results, based on specialist palliative care patients' experiences, outline the meanings and outcomes that relate to the quintessence and complexity of palliative care, deriving from dying persons' blend of both basic and symptom-oriented bodily-care needs. Moreover, the results outline how these two dimensions of care equally influence whether comfort and well-being are facilitated or not. Considering this, specialist palliative care may consider how to best integrate and acknowledge the value of skilled basic nursing care as part of and complementary to expertise in symptom relief during the trajectories of illness and dying.