Publication Date

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN)



First Advisor

Robin Whitney


Critical Care, Critical Care Nursing, Intensive Care Units, palliative care, end of life care, moral distress, burnout, resilience, mental health


Critical care nurses are providing care to acutely ill patients now more than ever and may experience moral or emotional distress due to providing end of life care to their patients. The purpose of this literature review is to determine the mental health effects of a critical care nurse providing palliative end of life care. A literature search using PubMed and CINHAL was conducted and fourteen published articles between 2012-2023 were included in this review. Several interventions were identified which may be useful in decreasing burnout and moral distress in critical care nurses. Overall, nurses experienced the most negative mental health impacts from providing what they perceived to be futile care and felt less distress when they felt empowerment. Critical care nurses also reported benefits to having received some end-of-life education.