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J Cardiovasc Nurs. 1996 Jul;10(4):47-58.

Ethical considerations in resuscitation decisions: a nursing ethics perspective.

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  • 1Pastoral Care Department, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Texas, USA.


Resuscitation decisions present clear ethical issues that are examined through literature review and theoretical synthesis. Nursing ethics begins in the practice of presence, communication, and valuing the patient's uniqueness. Such an "ethic of care" responds to the medical decisions concerning resuscitation with clear values and concerns. The values of autonomy and beneficence are embodied in the ways the nurse relates to patients. An ethic of care also is expressed through establishing a caring environment. Also, the issues raised by advance directives and "medical futility" must be integrated into the ethical practice of caring for patients. Nurses who express such an ethic of care will have a profound impact on the ethical environment of their institutions and decision-making processes of their patients.

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