To synthesise qualitative research examining the experience of critical care nurses caring for a dying child.Caring for a dying child remains one of the most difficult aspects of nursing, potentially leading to personal and professional distress. A thorough understanding of this experience for critical care nurses allows for improved delivery of care and support for the nurse.A qualitative evidence synthesis was undertaken, informed by Thomas and Harden's thematic synthesis methodology.Studies were retrieved from CINAHL Plus, Scopus, OVID Medline and Embase, alongside hand-searching reference lists in February 2016.Two reviewers independently assessed each study using a multi-step screening process and performed critical appraisal of each included study. Data were extracted onto a pre-developed tool and analysed using thematic analysis.There is a blurred line between the role of the nurse as a person or a professional while caring for the child and family throughout hospitalisation and during and after the death. Each stage of care involves tasks and emotions that highlight the changing dominance of the nurse as either a person or professional.Personal, interpersonal and contextual factors affect delivery of care and impact of the death of the child on the critical care nurse. Reviewing individual and institutional practices could improve provision of care, inter-professional collaboration and support provided to staff involved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.