Perceptions of North Dakota Registered Nurses Regarding Advance Directives
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH
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One of the functions of nurses is to assist individuals to achieve a peaceful death. In order to fulfill this role, patient end-of-life wishes must be communicated to family members and health care providers. Since passage of the Patient Self-Determination Act PSDA in 1990, advance directives have served as the legal vehicle and communication tool for bringing about an understanding of these wishes, should the patient be unable to competently speak for himherself. Unfortunately, although the majority of Americans favor the provisions that living wills and health care powers of attorney contain, only a small fracton actually complete advanced directives. As one of the largest and most accessible members of the health care team, nurses are in an ideal position to serve as advocates and educators for the facilitation of informed decision-making for patients making choices about end-of-life care. However, a nurses ability to advocate is greatly effected by a number of essential concepts, such as perception, time, interaction, role, power, status, comfort level, and decision-making.
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