The purpose of this study was to explore nurses' emotional challenges when caring for the dying in hospices. The study has a qualitative design, and knowledge was developed through a dialectical exchange between theory and data. Ten individual in-depth interviews were conducted with nurses recruited from two hospices in Denmark. Although all of the nurses said that they experienced emotional challenges or felt emotionally touched during their work, the study found a variety of opinions related to the extent to which their emotional reactions should be revealed in their role as a hospice professional. The participants described their emotional challenges as being simultaneously draining and enriching experiences leading to personal and professional growth and development. The study may contribute to increased awareness of emotional challenges for hospice nurses, which involve continuous reflection and balancing between meeting the dying as a human being and meeting the dying as a hospice professional.
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