The study concerned a comparison of responses made by students and alumni from two types of nurse-education programs, to questions regarding communications with dying patients. This was for the purpose of answering two questions: Are students of nursing given adequate preparation for coping with the psychological needs of dying patients? Are there significant differences in the way nurses from baccalaureate and associate degree programs cope with these needs? In an effort to obtain answers to these questions, a ten-part situational questionnaire was developed. It was assumed that some clue to a subject's ability to cope effectively in emotionally stressful situations encountered in care of dying persons would be indicated by the degree to which she tended to choose the most desirable response options to such situations on the questionnaire. The questionnaire was administered to finishing students and alumni of a baccalaureate and an associate degree program within the same university and university hospital. Data were collected according to the design. Computation and analysis of data revealed that there were no significant trends toward differences in the performance of students and practicing alumni of the two programs. The tendency for practicing nurses to score somewhat higher than the students, though of no statistical significance, was nevertheless of interest. Highly significant differences in mean scores of all the nurse groups from that of the non-nursing control group, appear to indicate significantly effective preparation by both types of programs in the area under consideration. Design weaknesses and limiting factors were pointed out; these, and the small sample size, render any generalization of findings unfeasible. Recommendations for further study were made.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Wynelle J. Huff

Second Advisor

Ethel C. Walls

Third Advisor

Richard R. Banks

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Death; Terminal Care -- nursing



Page Count

vi; 68

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

Included in

Nursing Commons