A Good Death: Narratives of Experiential Nursing Ethics

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Background: On a day to day basis, nurses are facing more ethical dilemmas during end-of-life care resulting in not being able to actualize a good death for patients. Research objective: The purpose of this study was to explore how experienced hospice nurses resolve day to day ethical dilemmas during end-of-life care. Research design: The study used a qualitative narrative approach. Participants: Through purposeful sampling, a total of six experienced hospice nurse participated. Ethical considerations: Approval from the researcher’s university Institutional Review Board for ethical review was obtained. Findings: Using core story creation, several different ethical dilemmas were identified divulging struggles with key stakeholders including family members and providers. Thematic analysis generated three main themes: Ethics within Practice, Ethical Knowledge, and Ethical Solutions. Discussion: The participants told their stories depicting a keen awareness of ethical conflicts situated by contextual factors including social, political, and personal issues. The nurses’ deliberations were informed through formal, experiential, and intuitive knowledge. Ethical predicaments were resolved by either following rules or choosing acts of resistance. Conclusion: A better understanding was obtained on how experienced hospice nurses successfully resolve ethical dilemmas culminating in better deaths for patients.

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Nursing Ethics

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