Background: Current evidence suggests that hospital nurses' end-of-life care is complex due to the conflicting tasks of treatment-focused care and palliation. This is a topic that needs further exploration. Aim: To understand hospital nurses' experiences of end-of-life care. Method: Interpretive phenomenology was used to explore 10 hospital nurses' experiences. Findings:Nurses' individual experience of death informed their attitudes to death. The dominant theme was death-as-calm, accompanied by human connection, and death-as-process. The nurses' actions indicated their end-of-life care included love, defined as a desire to create calm, grounded by the virtue of natural goodness, responsibility and dedication, with a willingness to focus on the individual and their family, making the most of whatever time they have left. To continue providing end-of-life care the nurses successfully protected their authentic self by using a ‘professional identity’ and employing ‘defence of self’. The nurses found the unpredictable nature of hospital end-of-life care difficult but used a collaborative power to manage situations. Conclusion: This study suggests hospital nurses successfully navigate an approach to hospital end-of-life nursing care, represented as a ‘harbour’, which facilitates transitioning from ‘stormy’ treatment to calm end-of-life care and death.
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- End-of-life care
- Hospital nurses
- Palliative care
ASJC Scopus subject areas