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Living With Death and Dying: The Experience of Taiwanese Hospice Nurses

Hung-Lan Wu
Deborah L. Volker
ONF 2009, 36(5), 578-584 DOI: 10.1188/09.ONF.578-584

Purpose/Objectives: To explore and describe the experiences of Taiwanese nurses who care for dying patients in hospices, a relatively recent healthcare option in Taiwan.

Research Approach: Qualitative, hermeneutic, phenomenologic approach.

Setting: Six hospices in central and southern Taiwan.

Participants: 14 Taiwanese hospice nurses.

Methodologic Approach: Interviews were audiotaped and analyzed with Colaizzi's guidelines.

Main Research Variables: Caregiving experiences of Taiwanese hospice nurses.

Findings: Four main themes emerged from the analysis: entering the hospice specialty, managing everyday work, living with the challenges, and reaping the rewards. Three subthemes of managing everyday work were providing holistic, meaningful care through close relationships; confronting and managing negative beliefs about hospice; and managing the dying process.

Conclusions: The fundamental structure of the caregiving experiences of Taiwanese hospice nurses is a dynamic, multidimensional process that evolved over time. The hospice nurses demonstrated how they achieved balance in their daily nursing practice within the Taiwanese cultural context.

Interpretation: Improved end-of-life education for the Taiwanese public, nurses, and other healthcare professionals that includes hospice concepts is needed. Administrators should provide adequate support to encourage and empower their nursing staff in hospice settings.

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