Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

D. Patricia Gray


Nurses perform a vital role in the care of dying patients and their families. Hence, experiences of nurses are a meaningful source from which to advance holistic end-of-life care. In this study, a hermeneutic phenomenological perspective was used to explore the phenomenon of end-of-life nursing care. Details derived from a scientific exploration into the experiences of 13 registered nurses who provided care for patients and families at end-of-life in the inpatient hospital setting offer understandings regarding this important phenomenon. The hermeneutic phenomenological methods of Max van Manen guided data collection and analysis. Three main themes described the participants’ experience of nursing care at end-of-life: “Confronting Challenges,” “Coming to Understand End-of-Life Care,” and “Transforming the Understanding of End-of-Life Care into Nursing Practice.” Recommendations for nursing education, practice, and research were derived.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2010

Included in

Nursing Commons