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Towards connectedness and trust : nurses' enactment of their moral agency within an organizational context Rodney, Patricia Anne


This study describes nurses' ethical perspectives on nursing dying patients in a critical care setting, as well as nurses' responses to their perspectives. The design involved a phenomenological approach, with unstructured interviews with eight critical care nurses used to generate data. The results indicated that nurses' ethical perspectives centered around a theme of senselessness; a senseless decision-making process, the experiences of patients and family members as senseless, and nurses' activities as senseless. Senselessness illustrated the multiple ethical dilemmas inherent in nurses' experiences. Nurses' ethical perspectives also involved their attempts to cope with senselessness by finding new meanings through shifting focus to patient comfort, support of the family, and to nurses' personal philosophies. The situational context of nurses' perspectives was explored in terms of influences on their perspectives. This study supports other recent nursing research identifying prolongation of the process of dying as a significant ethical problem engendering moral distress.

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