“It was the first time someone had died before my eyes…”: A qualitative study on the first death experiences of nursing students

ÇEKİÇ Y., Çalişkan B. B., Küçük Öztürk G., KAYA MERAL D., Bağ B.

Nurse Education Today, vol.133, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 133
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.nedt.2023.106075
  • Journal Name: Nurse Education Today
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, ASSIA, CINAHL, EBSCO Education Source, Education Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), DIALNET
  • Keywords: Clinical education, Death and dying, Nursing students, Qualitative research
  • Istanbul Gelisim University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Accompanying a person at their death is a common experience in nurse education. In addition to all death experiences that are a meaningful part of the nursing profession, the first death experience is very important. However, there is limited understanding of nursing students' first death experiences. Objectives: This study aimed to explore nursing students' experiences of the death of a person for the first time during clinical practice. Design: This study was conducted as a qualitative study using a phenomenological design. Participants: A total of 17 nursing students participated in this study. Methods: Data were collected through online individual in-depth interviews and were analyzed using content analysis. Results: Four main themes and eleven sub-themes emerged. The themes were meaning of death (first death, a part of life), process management (death information, physical environment, bad news), after death (empty bed, questioning, death with dignity) and education (curriculum, support, professional perception). Conclusions: While the first experience of death provides an opportunity for students to learn, this experience reveals various negative emotions and the need for support.