How does involvement of a hospice nurse specialist impact on the experience of informal caring in palliative care? Perspectives of middle-aged partners bereaved through cancer

Rrema Borland, Marie Glackin, Joanne Jordan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim of this study was to retrospectively explore partner's understandings and experiences in relation to caring for a loved one with a terminal illness, with a particular focus on the role of the hospice nurse specialist (HNS). Participants were purposively sampled and recruited through HNS gatekeepers. Seven middle-aged, bereaved partners participated in semi-structured, qualitative interviews. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim and data were analysed using thematic content analysis. Five main themes emerged regarding the impact of the HNS on informal caring: 'the ambivalence of caring', 'the HNS as a "confidante" in caring', 'the HNS as a "champion" in support', 'the work of the HNS - an unseen benefit' and 'being prepared for death and bereavement'. Findings from this study offer new insights into how involvement of a HNS impacts on the ability of carers to perform their role as an informal caregiver. Results highlight a crucial need for carers to have a clear understanding of all aspects of the HNS role so that full benefit is derived from their input. Recruitment of experienced and knowledgeable nurses is paramount, but equally important for carers is the supportive aspect of the role for which nurses need to demonstrate excellent communication skills and an intuitive, caring approach.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)701-711
    JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2014



    • hospice nurse specialist
    • informal caring
    • palliative care
    • qualitative

    Cite this