Phenomenological Study of ICU Nurses’ Experiences Caring for Dying Patients

Phenomenological Study of ICU Nurses’ Experiences Caring for Dying Patients

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Phenomenological Study of ICU Nurses’ Experiences Caring for Dying Patients
The question of existence of the human being is a complicated question, which requires a long discussion. The question of death is sometimes even more complicated. Working as a nurse requires full dedication and a lot of patience. One of the most hard and responsible part of nurse’s work is taking care of the dying patients. This work contains review of the article Phenomenological Study of ICU Nurses’ Experiences Caring for Dying Patients by Phyllis Ann King and Sandra P. Thomas and critique of the phenomenological research.
The research presented in the article was based on the work of the fourteen nurses, who belonged to critical care department. The main topic, which connected them, was Promises to Keep, which included five subtopics: (1) promise to be truthful; (2) promise to provide comfort; (3) “promise to be an advocate”; (4) “Promise that could not be kept” and (5) “Promise to remain connected” (King, P.A. and Thomas, S.P., 2013, p. 1292). The authors provide an overview of the previous researches, which were done in area of nurses’ work with death and dying patients. They began in 1950s and included quantitative and qualitative studies regarding the nurses from critical care units and their carrying for dying people. The research described in the article was based on the works of phenomenologist Merleau-Ponty, who claimed that the experience of the people should be shown using its own terms and not the scientific ones. Nurses were asked to take part in the in-depth interview, where they told about their experience of working with the dying patients. The results can be divided into several significant parts. The first contextual ground was the place ICU, where all the actions took place. The second one was time, which was spent with patient. The third context included the other people and the fourth one was dedicated to body. The research also showed the results according to the topic, Promises to Keep. This part contains the detailed description of nurses’ experience in five about-mentioned areas: promise to be truthful with the patient and his family; promise to provide comfort to the dying person and the people around him or her; “promise to be an advocate” (King, P.A. and Thomas, S.P., 2013, p. 1292) for the patient; promises to the patients and family that could not be kept from the very beginning and promise to remain connected to the family members after the death of the patient.

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What is interesting about the research, the participants rather talk about the stress of their patients and families than about their own stress. The nurses also mentioned that the special education for the end-of-life care is required.
To conclude, the research phenomenon, which is the experiences of the nurses while working with the dying patients, is stated rather clearly. However, a deeper study regarding this issue is also required. The description of the nurses’ experiences is also rather clear and is able to describe their feelings and emotions. The negative aspect of this part of study is that nurses rather paid attention to the experience of the other people rather than to their own. The method, which was used to collect the data, was compatible with the research purpose. Phenomenological study requires qualitative method, which was used (in-depth interviews). The purposive sampling was also used by the authors as they provided the interviews with nurses, who were in direct touch with the patients. The procedures for data collecting were described; however, there was no detailed description of the strategies for analysis. The detailed examples with quotes from the interviews were used to support the interpretation of the research.

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