Student voice

Nursing a dying patient: a student's perspective

Hertfordshire University child health nursing student Andy O'Connell, a finalist in the NCYP Student Voice competition, reflects on the unmatched care given by nurse Rebecca

Nursing a dying patient is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of the nursing role and every programme will have lectures teaching the theory. 

Andy O'Connell

But how can a student nurse practice a skill that – particularly in paediatrics – they will rarely experience?

For me, it was a personal loss and the work of one nurse that really taught me what it means when your patient is dying and you have a family in your care.

Allowing the time

On the day my grandmother passed away, our nurse Rebecca showed unmatched care and was faultless in her perseverance of the 6Cs.

Not bowing to the undoubtedly present workplace pressures of a Saturday in A&E, she gave us as much of her time as we needed.

She showed me how easy it is to be an excellent nurse in an unfamiliar situation by sticking to the basics. 

And so my family and I were given the opportunity to say a peaceful goodbye as my grandmother was allowed a dignified death. The importance of this, for me, is indescribable. 

It has permanently altered my own practice and given me a determination to one day give a bereaved family the quality of care Rebecca gave to us.


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