The meaning of death and dying for nursing students

Maria de los Ángeles Rodríguez Gázquez, Farley Soares Cantídio


Objective. To describe the meaning of death and dying for students in the last year of nursing in the Estatal de Montes Claros University, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Methodology. Exploratory qualitative study, which used guided semistructured interview as instrument to collect data. Nursing students enrolled in the program in 2010 who were in the 7th and 8th semester were studied. Data was analyzed using the discourse analysis technique. Results. Interviewees saw death as a “mystery”, “loss” of a loved one, and as a “transition” or “passing” from life existence to other one after death. When building meanings about finity, they expressed sadness, suffering and impotence towards the few lived experiences. For students, undergraduate training has contributed a little to the care of dying people. Conclusion. Participating students have a deficient trai­ning in care concepts and methodologies for people coping with death.

 Key words: attitude to death; students, nursing; education.

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