Rationale: This study was designed to identify nurses' perspectives on nursing skills that are important yet under-utilized in end-of-life care. Methods: A 45-item survey was administered to nurses (n = 717) four U.S. states with a response rate of 79%. We identified skills that were endorsed by more than 60% of nurses as extremely important and also endorsed as not currently practiced by more than 25% of nurses. We used Chi square statistics to examine professional characteristics associated with ratings of end-of-life care skills including practice settings, years of experience, and end-of-life care education. Content analysis was used to examine nurses' responses to open-ended questions. Results: Nineteen items were endorsed as extremely important and also ranked as under-utilized. These end-of-life care skills included communication skills, symptom management competencies especially those concerning anxiety and depression, and issues related to patient-centered care systems. Four complementary themes emerged from qualitative analysis of nurses' comments, which supported the quantitative findings. Conclusions: This study provides a summary of skills nurses feel are important and under-utilized in their care of patients with life-limiting illnesses. The findings support the need to target both nursing education and healthcare system interventions to improve the use of practical end-of-life care skills by nurses with a focus on communication and symptom management skills.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine