Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

First Advisor

Jeanne Schwager

Document Type

Major Paper

Second Advisor

Cynthia Padula


School of Nursing



Date of Original Version



The objective of this research was to explore the knowledge, confidence and effectiveness level of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) working with persons at end-of-life (EOL). This study was a descriptive, one-dimensional study that was conducted at a long term care (LTC) facility in Rhode Island. Participants answered demographic and confidence questionnaires and completed a short exam. The participants regularly provided care for persons at EOL, but received no additional training in that specialty. The 20 participants were fro,m diverse backgrounds and cultures. The study was conducted over two months and results indicated perceived confidence and effectiveness levels higher than knowledge scores. Over fifty percent of the participants received a score of less than 70% on the knowledge exam. There were multiple findings that implied a need for further research. The number of individuals receiving EOL care in nursing homes has escalated over the past decade. To provide quality care to the terminally ill, including general comfort, pain relief, spiritual, and emotional support, it must be provided by qualified nursing assistants. It is the premise of the researcher that nursing assistants who provide the majority of care to patients at EOL require specialized training to meet both nursing assistant and patient needs. The findings from this study support this premise and have implications for research and practice in end-of-life care.

Included in

Nursing Commons