BACKGROUND : Although nursing education aims to equip nursing students to provide care to
dying patients and their families, nurses often feel ill-prepared to cope with the emotional
labour involved in end-of-life care.
OBJECTIVES : The aim of the study was to explore and describe nursing students’ experiences
of end-of-life care through experiential learning within a constructivist educational model.
METHOD : A qualitative, descriptive design was used. As part of introducing experiential
learning, innovative educational practices were initiated during a second year level
undergraduate nursing module on end-of-life care. Qualitative data on second-year nursing
students’ experiences were collected through written reflections and analysed using open
RESULTS : The themes that emerged revealed participants’ sensory and emotional experiences
during the learning opportunities. Participants reflected on what they learnt and clarified their
values related to death and dying. They indicated how they would apply the new meanings
constructed in clinical practice.
CONCLUSION : A constructivist educational model of experiential learning holds potential to
enhance value clarification and nursing students’ sensory and emotional awareness of death
and dying. Experiential learning is recommended to develop nursing students’ competency in
providing end-of-life care.