Journal of Nursing


Colleen Mary Gallagher, Megan Ball Neel, Claudia R. Sotomayor


Background: With growing importance of clinical ethics in daily nursing practice, and the increasing occurrence and utilization of ethics consultation nationwide, awareness about the motives behind consults is vital to enhancing patient care.Aim: to determine the predominant requests for ethics consultation from nurses in a cancer setting. Design: This is a retrospective data review of the ethics consultations recorded in the clinical ethics consultation database. The data reviewed consist of the ethics consults requested by nurses from records in the database of consultations conducted from January 1, 2008 through July 31, 2013. Findings: The predominant reason for requesting an ethics consult was the level of appropriate care with a total of 27 consults (28%). Within this topic, there were ten consults about the shift from curative care to palliative care, 13 about code status, 2 about general appropriate level of care and 2 regarding hospice.Discussion: The data show that the nurses at this hospital had similar concerns as other nurses in the literature in that there were several requests for concerns regarding code status, informed consent, and appropriate treatment, including the decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining therapies.Conclusion: Improving access to ethics consultation services access and the ethics education for nursing staff are necessary steps to improve confidence among them to engage more often with clinical ethics consultation.  


Clinical Ethics Consultation; nursing ethics.

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