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When a life ends: Lived experiences of nurse learners' encounter with the death of a client.


Valerie Ann B. Atas,
Jayson G. Benis,
Marson  P. Lao-an,
Glenn Ryan I. Palao-ay

Related Institution

College of Nursing - Benguet State University

Publication Information

Publication Type
Research Report



This study aimed to explore and characterize the experiences of nurse learners who encountered clients' death.


Eleven respondents were chosen through purposive sampling. Face-to-face interview, using interview guide with open-ended questions was used.  The data were analyzed using Colaizzi's 7-step method.



Five (5) domains was extracted. Foremost domain: "A Heart Stop, I Think, I Move" refers to what participants felt before and during performing nursing interventions to the client including the nursing interventions provided. These domain has four (4) themes, namely: "Stop, Look, Listen, and Feel", "I think, therefore I am", "Pushing hard, Pushing fast", and "Caring 'til the last breath of life".

The next domain is "A Life ends, Pain starts" referring to what the participants did and felt after the doctors declared the death of the client. It includes postmortem care, comfort measures rendered to the bereaved family members, and the emotions felt by the participants. This domain is broken into two (2) themes: "Caring for Hearts Left Behind", and "Life ends, Heartbreaks".

The third domain "Mending a broken heart" discusses about how they coped and adapted with the client's death. The main themes are: "Suppressing my Heart", "Unloading the Burdens of the Heart", and "Thinking Positive Thoughts".

The fourth domain is "Accepting the Heart of the Matter" containing how they accepted the experience. This domain is composed of one (1) theme which is: "I know it's part of me".

The last domain is identified as "A Heart Stronger than Before". It bears two themes: "Motivated to do better" and "Learning from my past".



Based on the findings, the following conclusions were drawn: 1) Rendering care and performing nursing interventions to the clients depend on the nurse learners' knowledge and skills. 2) Clients' death has an impact on nurse learners either emotionally or psychologically. 3) Coping with clients' death differs to each individual, depending on the availability of resources or relationship with other people. 4) Nurse Learner understanding of clients' death is part of their profession. 5) The clients' death motivations nurse learners to learn and perform better nursing care.

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