Nursing Ethics

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Teaching Clinical Ethics Using a Case Study: Family Presence During Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
Ainslie T. Nibert
Crit Care Nurse 2005;25:38-44
© 2005 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Published online Personal use only. For copyright permission information:

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Critical Care Nurse is the official peer-reviewed clinical journal of the American Association of Critical-Care
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Using a Clinical Approach to Resolve Ethical Dilemmas
Nurse educators teaching critical care courses can increase students’ understanding of ethical dilemmas by having the students participate in a clinical analysis of a case study. The debate about whether to offer family presence during CPR is an example of an ethical dilemma that arises within critical care nursing practice. In small groups, students can begin their analysis of the issue by reviewing the current literature on family presence. Discussion of findings with their peers helps students identify key issues within the ethical dilemma. Once the issues defining the dilemma are exposed and described, students can search for relevant practice guidelines endorsed by medical, nursing, and other health-related organizations. After the review of the literature and the search for current practice guidelines are completed, students will be ready to further define the opposing arguments inherent in the ethical conflict. During the discussion of these issues, the instructor should function as both facilitator and moderator and should be responsible for ensuring that all points of view are equally represented and discussed as the ethical analysis unfolds. The clinical analysis of the case study is designed to answer the question, Does an overriding obligation exist to honor the desires of

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