This work deals with the pressures experienced by nurses caring for patients with a wide range of problems and needs. Two particular situations that nurses face are covered - the terminally ill patient and the acute patient, where the first will die and the second will eventually recover. The book poses the question "Are there differences in the way that nurses care for the living and the dying?" and "Do the disparate needs of these two groups result in role conflict for the nurses who care for them?" The author looks at the factors that influence the way nurses care for their patients (patient responsiveness and the nurse's workload) and concludes that nurses who make the smoothest transitions from dealing with one type of patient to dealing with another, are those who have both a "philosophy of death" and who also participate in support groups and continuing education programmes. The book offers suggestions for nursing education and patient care based on the information gleaned from these investigations.