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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


MARVAN, Ma. Luisa; ONATE-OCANA, Luis F; SANTILLAN-DOHERTY, Patricio  and  ALVAREZ-DEL RIO, Asunción. Facing death in the clinical practice: a view from nurses in Mexico. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2017, vol.59, n.6, pp.675-681. ISSN 0036-3634.


To explore the views of nurses on death in their practice, and their perception about physicians’ actions dealing with terminally ill patients.

Materials and methods:

Two hundred ninety-five nurses with experience caring for terminally ill patients responded to a questionnaire developed for this study.


The majority of participants considered that terminally ill patients should know about their prognosis. Although nearly all nurses said that when a patient brings up the subject and they talk with the patient about death, several of the nurses find it difficult to establish a relationship with these patients. Concerning nurses’ perception about physicians’ actions, they considered that physicians avoid the subject of death with their patients more than the physicians acknowledge.


More education and training of physicians and nurses on end-of-life issues is needed to improve communication with dying patients and to provide them with better care.

Keywords : nurses; death; nurse-patient relationship; physician-patient relationship.

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