New graduate nurses' coping with death and the relationship with death self-efficacy and death anxiety: A multicentre cross-sectional study

Ruishuang Zheng, Melissa Jane Bloomer, Qiaohong Guo, Susan Fiona Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To examine new graduate nurses' perceptions of competency on coping with dying and death and the relationship with death self-efficacy and death anxiety. Design: A multicentre, cross-sectional study. Methods: Three hundred and forty new graduate nurses from five metropolitan hospitals were recruited between August–November 2018. Participants completed the Coping with Death Scale, Death Self-efficacy Scale, and Death Anxiety Scale. Results: Two hundred and ninety-eight new graduate nurses responded to the survey. The mean score of coping with death and death self-efficacy was 120.11 (SD 24.59), 259.11 (SD 57.70) respectively. 88.9% feared a painful death, 81.5% were particularly afraid of getting cancer, and 80.2% were afraid of death. There was a positive relationship between coping with death and death self-efficacy, a negative relationship between coping with death and death anxiety and a negative correlation between death self-efficacy and death anxiety. Five variables, including death self-efficacy, three dimensions of death anxiety including emotion, cognition with life and death and stress and distress and religion in total accounted for 46.9% of the variance of coping with death. Conclusion: New graduate nurses are at a disadvantage in terms of death self-efficacy, less well prepared in coping with death and are more anxious about death. Impact: It is imperative for educational institutions to support new graduate nurses with pre-licensure learning related to patient death issues and care. Organizations are also strongly advised to support new graduate nurses to cope with patient death through development of culturally sensitive interventions and guidelines, which may in turn assist with decreasing new graduate nurses' risk of burnout and increasing their longevity in the profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-804
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • coping with death
  • cross-sectional study
  • death anxiety
  • death self-efficacy
  • new graduate nurse
  • nursing

Cite this