Reflection on curative treatment versus palliation of symptoms in end of life care
Evidence & Practice    

Reflection on curative treatment versus palliation of symptoms in end of life care

Teresa Bridget Dowling Nursing student, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland

The conflicting tasks of treating or managing disease and preparing patients and their families for the end of life are well documented in haematology and palliative care settings. This article is a reflection on practice by a nursing student who was in the fourth year of an internship, and discusses a case study involving a woman at the end of life. It considers the approach to palliative and end of life care adopted in an oncology and haematology ward where there was a reluctance to be realistic about the limitations of treatments among some healthcare practitioners, who did not want to dispel unrealistic expectations of the patient’s recovery as a result of continuing treatment. This reflection focuses on the care of a patient at the end of life and the frustration experienced by the nursing student at their inability to alter the direction of treatment from curative treatment to the palliation of symptoms.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2018.e10644


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared


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Received: 03 August 2016

Accepted: 14 October 2016

Published online: 25 January 2018

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