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Perception of illness and death in the nursing setting

Ramona Cristina Radaelli ,
Ramona Cristina Radaelli

Facultad de Medicina. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Esmeralda Marina Quipildor ,


This paper delves into how nurses perceive illness and death and how it impacts their daily practice. Nurses' perceptions are shaped by their educational background, professional experience, personal beliefs, and cultural context. They receive training in disease management and palliative care, providing them with the knowledge to approach these situations professionally. However, personal experiences, beliefs, and emotions also influence their response. The evolution of medical science has led to the medicalization of death, with nurses often caring for dying patients in hospital settings. The emotional burden on nurses necessitates emotional self-awareness and support networks to manage stress and trauma effectively. Cultural influences play a significant role in how nurses perceive illness and death. Some cultures avoid open discussions about death, creating communication barriers. Nurses must develop culturally sensitive communication skills to provide respectful care. Various medical traditions, such as Western medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Indigenous medicine, offer different perspectives on illness and death. Cultural differences extend to funeral practices and beliefs about the afterlife. Anonymous interviews with nurses highlighted their diverse responses to death and the emotional toll it can take. Support programs and psychological assistance should be available to help nurses cope with these challenges. In conclusion, nurses' perceptions of illness and death are multifaceted, influenced by education, experience, personal beliefs, and culture. Emotional management and institutional support are crucial for effective patient care. Creating an environment that encourages open communication and respect for these issues is essential. Nurses must engage in ongoing self-reflection to provide compassionate care and address the complex emotional aspects of their profession.

How to Cite

Radaelli RC, Quipildor EM. Perception of illness and death in the nursing setting. Community and Interculturality in Dialogue [Internet]. 2023 Dec. 25 [cited 2024 Apr. 13];4:93. Available from:

The article is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. Unless otherwise stated, associated published material is distributed under the same licence.

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