Critical care nurses often find themselves in the midst of challenging ethical situations that involve conflict between the needs of critically ill patients and the patients’ family members and the preferences of physicians and other healthcare providers who initiate and manage resuscitation measures. Yet, many critical care nurses have reported that they received little preparation in their basic education programs to deal with these sensitive issues. Because new graduate nurses often choose to specialize in critical care, nurse educators who design and teach undergraduate critical care nursing courses are obligated to address ethical decision making as part of the curriculum. In this article, I present a case study of an ethical issue in critical care and describe a method of clinical ethical analysis that nurse educators can use when teaching students about making ethical decisions in clinical practice.

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