Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Alfredo Ortiz Aragón


Stephanie Hartzell


Deborah James


Incidence of reported near-death experiences (NDEs) has increased over decades; however, they continue to be inappropriately pathologized or dismissed. These types of responses to disclosures of NDEs by patients can potentially lead to them having problems integrating the experience into their lives. The purpose of this study was to assess undergraduate nursing students’ levels of accurate knowledge of and attitudes towards NDEs and to determine the predictors of nursing students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward NDEs. Additionally, I explored the sources in which nursing students acquire NDE knowledge. I accomplished this by using a cross-sectional, correlational research study design. I obtained data from students enrolled in an undergraduate BSN program at a 4 year university using an online questionnaire to gather quantitative and qualitative data. I selected nursing students as the focus of this study due to the proximity and interaction these students will have with patients when they become nurses.

Study participants had a low level of accurate NDE knowledge. In addition to the low knowledge level, just under two-thirds of participants could not identify at least one strategy to use when caring for patients who have or are suspected of having an NDE. The lack of sufficient knowledge and inability to identify appropriate strategies indicates a lack of preparedness to provide proper care to NDErs. Furthermore, participants had neutral to positive leaning attitudes towards NDEs. These positive leaning attitudes were evident in participants’ expressed desire to learn more about NDEs and their belief that the topic should be included in nursing education. The consensus among participants was a lack of formal education on NDEs within their nursing program. I concluded that the identified lack of preparedness has the potential to have a negative impact on patients’ NDE disclosures and overall care.