Death Has Numerous Meanings. Death Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

The concept of death is an abstract concept, but this does not mean that one has to be educated in order to understand this concept.

Death is as abstract a word as life is. There are people who are alive but may not necessarily be truly living. In the case of these people who are not living to their full potential, when does their life end? When does death occur? This changes the way then that we think about death. Is death necessarily evil? Is death something that can be avoided in some cases? If a person loses their family -- their spouses, their children, and all their friends -- is that person still alive if their life has been abruptly brought to a metaphorical death because they are no longer with the ones they love? Death, viewed in this way, is more philosophical and less physical.

As nurses, we are trained to look at the vital signs. When the vital signs are gone, this constitutes death. When the vital processes that keep us alive are no longer there, we are called dead. But does death occur only when the vital signs are gone, or does death occur while the vital processes are ending? When exactly does death occur? Is death something that just is -- like a state of being (or not being)? Or is death more of a process? Nurses have very unique jobs and they often play a very important role in a person's death -- aiding in a peaceful death (Alligood & Tomey 2009, p. 56). Nurses are often a lifeline for dying individuals in the sense that doctors are not always around; doctors are making the rounds and attending to other things. Nurses, on the other hand, are more present in the hospital landscape. The more nurses there are in the hospital, the more safe a patient will feel. It can be argued that individuals going through the dying process still want to have an attachment to the living world and the nurse's presence can be comforting and essential to a peaceful death. Consequently, when there are few nurses to attend to different patients' needs, the process of dying can be scary and anxiety-provoking.

Alligood and Tomey (2009, p. 98) refer to Watson when they say that the word nurse is both a noun and a verb. This is an important fact to remember because as nurses we actively do things to help patients in whatever state of health they are in, but we also are nouns in the sense that we are real people taking a very important role for the patients. This is especially true in the dying process for patients. The nurse as an individual will relate to individuals and comfort them in the dying process via gestures (stroking the head or hand), facial expressions (a look of concern or a smile), procedures (making the patient more comfortable), and verbal expressions (whispering words of comfort) -- among many other ways to connect (p. 98).


Alligood, M.R. & Tomey, A.M. (2009). Nursing theorists…

Sources Used in Document:


Alligood, M.R. & Tomey, A.M. (2009). Nursing theorists and their work. (Seventh

edition). Mosbey.

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