Ethical decision making is an inherent part of the clinical judgment process in critical care nursing. It can cause considerable mental discomfort and stress. Although applying ethical theories to the clinical decision-making process does not provide absolute solutions, it does increase the nurse's confidence in the basis on which the decisions are made. Increasing the awareness of the ethical component of clinical decisions will increase the nurse's ability to deal with the perplexing ethical issues that permeate critical care nursing.

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