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The majority of nurses first experience death in or before their first year of practice, and the experience can provoke feelings of helplessness, guilt and ongoing distress
  1. John Costello
  1. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to: John Costello
    School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Manchester, University Place Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK; John.Costello{at}

Statistics from

Commentary on: Kent B, Anderson NE, Owens RG. Nurses’ early experiences with patient death: the results of an on-line survey of Registered Nurses in New Zealand. Int J Nurs Stud 2012;49:1255–65.

Implications for practice and research

  • The study draws attention to the issue of patient death and its impact on staff well-being, moral and mental health, calling for these areas to be taken more seriously.

  • The findings highlight a need for undergraduate death education to focus on end-of-life care.

  • The study has implications for considering the positive impact death experiences can have on nurses.

  • There is a need to review resources for managing patient death and to evaluate the impact a patient's death can have on nurses providing end-of-life care, particularly for student nurses and newly qualified staff.


This study focuses on the death of patients in acute care contexts, an area identified as a source …

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