Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


Zvart Onanian School of Nursing



Date of Original Version

May 2022


Background: Registered Nurses (RNs) are often exposed to death and dying, putting them at risk for increased levels of death anxiety due to frequent exposure. Researchers have identified personal resources that people can possess that may limit the amount of death anxiety they feel, such as happiness. Purpose/Specific Aims: The purpose of this mixed-methods descriptive correlational study was to identify if a link exists between perceived happiness and death anxiety specifically within the acute care nursing population working in an urban VA hospital. Methods: A convenience sample of inpatient RNs were recruited and asked to complete a questionnaire to assess their level of perceived happiness, fear of death and how working around death and dying influenced their own life choices. Results: Sixteen RNs participated in the study. Two incomplete surveys were excluded, analyzed n=14). Mean happiness score was 5.27. Average scores for each scale were: Fear of your own death 2.1, Fear of your own dying 3.4, Fear of others death 3.19, and Fear of others dying 3. Each fear of death variable besides fear of others dying had a positive correlation with happiness, with high levels of happiness associated with high levels of fear of death. Conclusion: Moderate positive correlation between happiness and fear of death suggests a relationship between these emotions; when a nurse is happier or more content with their life, their fear of death and dying increases. A larger study is recommended for more conclusive results.