Attitudes toward caring for dying patients: An overview among Italian nursing students and preliminary psychometrics of the FATCOD-B scale

Paolo Leombruni, Marco Miniotti, Andrea Bovero, Francesca Zizzi, Lorys Castelli, Riccardo Torta


Background: Extensive research indicated that nursing students at the end of their curricula feel unprepared to care for the dying. Therefore, studies on nursing students’ attitudes to caring for dying patients play a key role in nursing education, and the FATCOD-B scale is the only tool that specifically evaluates them.

Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used. During 2013, the FATCOD-B scale was administered to a sample of 82 nursing students. Descriptive statistics, the Student’s t-test, Cronbach’s alpha and principal components analysis were used in data analyses.

Results: Italian nursing students’ scores on the FATCOD-B scale seemed to be lower than literature evidence on sums of ratings; however, mean ratings revealed similar levels of attitudes to the dying. Gender and personal experience with dying persons were not predictors of FATCOD-B scores. Internal consistency of the FATCOD-B scale was not satisfactory. Principal component analysis found a four-factor questionable solution for the FATCOD-B scale.

Conclusions: Findings from the present study suggest a need for end-of-life care nursing education in Italy. The preliminary results concerning the psychometrics of the scale suggest that the Italian version of the FATCOD-B could be in need of revision. The implications for practice are discussed.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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