UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Male intersive care nurses' experiences in taking care of dying patients Wu, Tammy W.


Male nurses can bring energy and knowledge along with diverse beliefs and values to their workplaces. When taking care of dying patients, male ICU nurses may also have an array of issues concerning comfort care, and their unique ways of coping with stress that can accompany such events. Male ICU nurses also have distinct ways for maintaining their well-being and for sustaining their masculine ideals when caring for dying patients and working in a female-dominated environment. Many research studies have focused on how nurses care for dying patients, but few studies have explored the experiences of male ICU nurses caring for dying patients. The current study addresses this significant knowledge gap and provides valuable insights on how male ICU nurses connect masculine ideals with stress coping strategies in a female-dominated environment. Using an interpretive descriptive qualitative approach, this study provides understandings of male ICU nurses’ struggles and feelings when they witness their patients’ death. The findings indicated that most participants drew on masculine ideals to act as providers in meeting the needs of the patients and their families. That said, most participants also transgressed some masculine ideals by expressing their feelings, such as shedding tears at the bedside and talking about their emotions to help reduce stress. Many participants also reported appreciating their life and their families more after witnessing patients’ death. They also used effective strategies to cope with the stress in their lives and workplace. Furthermore, participants believed that they were equals to the female nurses both in terms of competency and in their ability to care for patients and families. Finally, this study also enhances opportunity to learn how to increase understanding in supporting male ICU nurses at their workplaces.

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