Nurses Perspective on Death and Dying

The Student Nurse's Perspective on Death and the Dying


Much has been written about death because it is a subject that touches everyone of us. The following is the culmination of all that I have learnt about Death and the dying patient from my own research and my own experiences as a student nurse. My research has highlighted that   I share many of my perspectives on death and dying with other student nurses.

V. Ruth Gray states that
"For all mankind, living becomes dying: death is the inevitable consequence of living." (1)

" Death is the ultimate touchstone of human endeavours. It is the ultimate organiser of time. It is the ultimate enemy of self. It is the ultimate leveler of all persons. It is the ultimate uncertainty, the ultimate event, the ultimate negator of passions and personal growth. "

Mosby's medical Nursing and Allied health Dictionary defines   ' death' as:
"The cessation of life as indicated by the absence of activity in the brain and central nervous system, the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system as observed and declared by a physician."

      The above criteria applies in most cases of expected death. However, in modern society   where many people are kept alive on life-support machines ,the exact moment of death is harder to establish. It's also worth noting that although most Western societies have a clear distinction between being alive or being dead , this is not the case for all societies. Rosenblatt ( 3 ) points out that some societies view the person as still being alive for a considerable length of time after the period that most Western societies would describe the person as dead. There are also some cultures that start to grieve for the dying person as if they had already died during a time when they are technically still alive.
Whichever way the individual...