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Making Death a Meaningful Transition

Ines Tejada-Reyes
Patricia Donahue Baldwin
CJON 2002, 6(3), 173-174 DOI: 10.1188/02.CJON.173-174

As oncology nurses, we care for patients and their families across the cancer continuum—from helping newly diagnosed patients deal with the fears and anguish of confronting cancer to the attentive management of those receiving treatment. In addition, oncology nurses care for patients who are approaching the terminal phase of their disease, an experience that requires us to turn from the curative mode to one of loving support for dying patients and their families. Caring for patients at this stage is a difficult task, especially if we are not familiar with principles of palliative care or if their care is based on conflicting approaches, wavering between aggressive treatment and end-of-life comfort. Thus, hearing complaints from frustrated oncology nurses about needless tests or treatments being ordered for patients who are beyond the curative phase of disease is not uncommon.

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