Caring for the Terminally Ill: An Interpretation of Time, Existence, and Mortality


  • Randip Dhaliwal University of Calgary
  • Dr. Shelley Raffin Bouchal



In this paper, the first author explores the complexity of caring for palliative care patients approaching end of life in response to the statement nursing is an interpretive practice. A real-life scenario is used to unravel the exploration of time, existence, and mortality. The author proclaims that the question of death remains unanswered, and the call to palliative care nursing requires an extensive examination of one’s own temporality to cultivate an understanding of patients experiences of grief, legacy, and meaning making in the context of terminal illness.

Author Biographies

Randip Dhaliwal, University of Calgary

Randip Dhaliwal is a PhD student supervised by Dr. Shelley Raffin Bouchal in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. She has worked closely with palliative care patients across acute care, community, and public health settings. Randip is an acrylic and oil painter and firmly believes in the importance of the humanities in promoting health and wellness. Her doctoral research focuses on using legacy work to understand the experience of anticipatory grief in terminally ill palliative care patients. Randip is an acrylic and oil painter and firmly believes in the importance of the humanities in promoting health and wellness.In addition to her interest in palliative care, Randip is also a strong advocate for mental health and well-being, particularly among the South Asian community.

Dr. Shelley Raffin Bouchal

At the University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing, Dr. Raffin Bouchal is an Associate Professor and Graduate Curriculum Coordinator. Dr. Raffin Bouchal has expertise in Ethics and Palliative Care. Dr. Raffin Bouchal is a member of Alberta Provincial End-of Life Care Policy Advisory Committee, a provincial body developing palliative care practice and educational competencies. She has also been a member of University Research Ethics Boards and other National Ethics Committees. She has co-authored one book, Ethics in Canadian Nursing Practice: Navigating the Journey (2009). Dr. Raffin Bouchals’ research most recently focuses on advance care planning, grief, bereavement, and compassion.