As the complexity and severity of hospitalized patients increase, nurses working in an acute care setting will experience patient deaths. From novice to expert, nurses may utilize a range of coping strategies. When the patient is a pediatric patient, the coping strategies become critical. The purpose of this study is to explore the coping strategies used by novice and expert nurses when a pediatric patient dies. The second objective is to compare the coping strategies used by novice and expert nurses. The final objective is to determine if nurses feel nursing school and employee training prepared them for the death of a pediatric patient. Research has shown that nurses use many different coping strategies when faced with a patient's death (Abdullah, 2015; Kellogg, Baker, & McCune, 2014; Plante & Cry, 2011). Expert nurses who have years of experience should have more options for coping strategies than novice nurses, yet there is little evidence to support this. This qualitative descriptive study used structured in-depth interviews to explore the coping strategies of pediatric nurses when experiencing a patient's death. Using thematic analysis, transcripts of the interviews were coded such that themes emerged. Themes for novice nurses were compared to expert nurses. These themes were also placed into concepts that encompassed many similar themes. The findings help determine that there is a difference in the coping mechanisms used by novice and expert nurses, and there is a need for more education on coping strategies after the death of a pediatric patient.
- Coping Skills Used by Nurses After the Death of a Pediatric Patient