The Unilateral DNR Order -- One Hospital's Experience
JONA's Healthcare Law, Ethics, and Regulation 2003 June; 5(2): 42-46
Hospital or institutional policies that guide the activity of nurses in the care of their patients may, at times, be controversial. Nursing staffs often act as gatekeepers of patient care activities and the implementers of institutional policy. When nurses raise questions as to the appropriateness of a given policy statement, the institution should take serious notice and, perhaps, even study the policy outcomes that relate to the concerns expressed by the nursing staff. This article introduces a policy that originally prompted serious concerns by the nursing staff at one institution. The nursing staff voiced their concerns regarding a revision in the DNR policy that would allow physicians to write unilateral do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders. Because of this, a review of this policy took place and the results were used to dispel unfounded concerns and also to improve the use of the policy. This article may help nursing administrators to understand better the importance of policy-related studies and it may also encourage nurses to question policy statements and guidelines that may present some concerns. Enhanced patient care will ultimately result by such teamwork and scholarly activity.
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