death and dying, nursing, nurse experience, palliative care, hospice care, pediatric care, perinatal care, oncology, nurse education, religious and cultural impact of death


A major responsibility for nurses is caring for patients during the end-of-life process, as well as helping families and patients cope with the death and dying process. It is well known that death and dying greatly impacts families, but little holistic research has been done on how death and dying impacts nurses’ mental and emotional wellbeing. Using databases Google Scholar, Web of Science, and EBSCO, 14 articles were analyzed regarding the impact of death on nurses’ mental health. Results show that the age of a patient plays a bigger role on death impact than nursing specialty does, as younger patients’ deaths cause greater emotional turmoil than older patients. Cultural values around death also affected the emotional impact a patient’s death had on nurses. Nurses from cultures with a more negative attitude towards death experienced greater emotional turmoil when patients died. Religious values were shown to help nurses cope with the dying process. Across studies and specialties, nurses complained of being underprepared to deal with the death and dying process. These common complaints indicate gaps in nursing education that need to be addressed and rectified to preserve the health and mental wellbeing of caregivers.

Document Type

Class Project or Paper

Publication Date





Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication



Psychology 307

Included in

Psychology Commons