Original Research

Nurses experiences in palliative care of terminally-ill HIV patients in a level 1 district hospital

Nokwanda E. Bam, Joanne R. Naidoo
Curationis | Vol 37, No 1 | a1238 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v37i1.1238 | © 2014 Nokwanda E. Bam, Joanne R. Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 October 2013 | Published: 30 July 2014

About the author(s)

Nokwanda E. Bam, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Joanne R. Naidoo, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Background: Whilst the discourse of palliative care in HIV management is largely documented and regarded as being an essential component, various authors have further argued that within the context of HIV care in sub-Saharan Africa, palliative care and exploration of the dimensions thereof is largely lacking. This article presents the lived experiences of nurses involved in palliative care, thus providing the perspective of nurses and the multi-faceted dimensions of the nature of caring inherent.

Objectives: This study explored the respondents’ understanding of the concepts ‘caring’ and ‘terminal patient’ and described the experiences of nurses caring for terminally-ill patients with HIV and how these experiences influence the nature of care rendered.

Methods: Qualitative research using Husserl’s approach of phenomenology design underpinned the study and Giorgi’s steps of analysis were used to make meaning of the data.

Results: The concept ‘caring’ was experienced by the nurses as transforming the patients’ quality of life through supportive care and hope for life. Palliative care made the nurses conscious of their own mortality, enabling them to be more sensitive, compassionate and dedicated to caring for their patients. The findings described the social networking that enabled nurses to collaborate with colleagues in the interdisciplinary teams and shared knowledge, skills and support within the palliative care team in order to optimise patient outcomes.

Conclusion: Nurses with prolonged involvement in caring for terminally-ill patients with HIV experienced helplessness and emotional stress. Recommendations based on the results are that training in psychological and holistic care of the patient, professional counselling and stress management services are needed to support the nurse in this context.


Palliative Care; HIV/AIDS; Nurses Expereinces;


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Crossref Citations

1. “Sisonke - Together We Can”: Conceptualisations of Critically Reflective Communities of Practice Nurses Caring for Women Living with HIV
Joanne Rachel Naidoo, Ntombifikile Mtshali
Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery  vol: 19  issue: 3  year: 2018  
doi: 10.25159/2520-5293/1410