Context: Palliative care (PC) is a form of care that aims to enhance the life quality of patients and their families who are dealing with the effects of the life-threatening disease by preventing and alleviating distress by early detection, accurate evaluation, and management of pain and other physical, psychosocial, and spiritual issues. Aim: This study aimed to assess the awareness and attitude of undergraduate nursing students at King Saud bin Abdul-Aziz University regarding palliative care. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional design was utilized to achieve the aim of this study. The study was conducted at the College of Nursing - Riyadh, affiliated to King Saud bi Abdul-Aziz University. A convenience sample of 273 nursing students from level five to level eight voluntarily participated in this study. Data were collected by using two tools. A self-reported questionnaire was designed to assess the students' awareness of palliative care. Frommelt Attitude Towards Care of the Dying (FATCOD) Scale was adopted to measure participants’ attitudes toward providing care to dying patients. Results: The results show that about 36.3% of nursing students were in the age group of 21 years old, and 73% were in the sixth academic level. 75.5% of the nursing students were not aware of palliative care, 30.30% knew about PC from the elective course. 96.33% of students had no experience caring for terminally ill patients and their family members previously. The students' response analysis of PC definition revealed that 89.74 of them could not define it correctly, 41% could not know the aim from PC, 43% of students identified the need of terminally ill to reduce the physical suffering. The students' attitudes toward palliative care showed a swing between positive and negative attitudes. As 81% of students believe that giving nursing care to the dying person is a worthwhile learning experience, 65.5% agreed about nursing care for the patient's family should continue throughout grief and bereavement. In comparison, 77.3% would hope the person they cared for dies when they are not present, and 41.5% of the students believe that they would be uncomfortable talking about impending death with the dying person, and 40.9% were uncertain about this. Conclusion: Knowledge about palliative care among undergraduate nursing students remained relatively poor overall. Attitude toward end-of-life care shows a swing between positive and negative attitudes yet still reflected an evident lack of comfort in dealing with death and dying. Structured courses in palliative care are recommended as a core part of undergraduate nursing education. The suggested course should encompass basic professional skills, symptom control, patient-centered communication, ethical issues, decision-making at the end of life, whole-person care, and interdisciplinary work.
Open access articles are distributed under the terms of Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium provided the original work is properly cited.