Main Article Content
Purpose: To examine the relationships between age, attitude toward death and caring for dying patients, obstacles of communication and nurses’ competency in communication with pediatric patients at the end of life and their families.
Design: Correlational study design.
Methods: The sample was 123 nurses working in the pediatric units at 3 tertiary care hospitals in the central part of Thailand, having experiences in caring for pediatric patients at least 1 year, and not being in a position of head nurse or higher. Data were collected through questionnaires including personal information, nurses’ perception of competency in communication with pediatric patients at the end of life and their families, attitudes towards death and caring of dying patients, and nurses’ perceptions of barriers to communication. Descriptive statistics and Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient were used in the data analysis.
Main findings: The subjects had a moderate level competency in communication with pediatric patients at the end of life and their families. Age and attitudes toward death and caring for dying patients were positively correlated with nurses’ competency in communication at significance level (rs = .21, p <.01 and rs = .35, p < .01, respectively). Obstacles of communication was not correlated with nurses’ competency in communication (rs = -.06, p > .05).
Conclusion and recommendations: The study results suggested that a nurse with maturity by age and positive attitudes towards death tends to be an appropriate one who is responsible for communicating with a patient at the end of life stage and family. A training for cultivating good attitudes towards death and developing competency in communication should be arranged for nurses. Clinical practice guideline for communication with this group of patients and families should also be developed.
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