‘Course needed to help nurses prepare for death’

2014-12-22 14:59

A new course is needed within nursing to help nurses prepare for the deaths of patients under their care, the University of Cape Town said.

This followed from new research conducted at UCT by PhD graduate Nicola Foucheé, spokesperson Riana Geldenhuys said today.

In her thesis, Foucheé said nurses, particularly those working in critical care units, were under considerable pressure.

They gave as reasons for leaving the emotional burnout suffered due to the competing priorities they faced, the concern of critical care units to preserve life at all costs, and nurses’ personal need to manage human contact with dying patients.

Despite critical care staff being highly trained and skilled, there was high staff turnover, particularly in paediatric critical care units.

Foucheé said students studying towards the post graduate diploma in nursing (critical care adult and child) at UCT expressed considerable unease when confronted with discussions of death.

Geldenhuys said: “During research for her thesis ... Foucheé spent many hours with six nurses who work mainly in paediatric critical care.

“She said the nurses were asked to draw pictures of their experiences with death. They later talked about them.”

Foucheé stated: “Their sadness was palpable. Often in ICU you don’t have time to say goodbye to a baby. A course won’t stop the burnout and stress, but it may allow nurses the space to understand and grieve.”

A course would also help nurses to understand and respect the way different cultures and religions dealt with dying and death.

“Being with someone in their last days of living is a privilege. You can make that death a very significant goodbye for the family as well as yourself,” Foucheé said.

Foucheé, an experienced critical care nurse, convenes the UCT post graduate diploma in nursing (critical care nursing).

She holds an MSc (Nursing), an advanced university diploma in nursing education, and a diploma in intensive nursing science from UCT.

Foucheé graduated with a PhD from UCT on December 16 this year.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.