Do not attempt resuscitation decisions: the nursing role

Jepson, Jacqueline
September 2003
British Journal of Nursing;9/25/2003, Vol. 12 Issue 17, p1038
Academic Journal
This exploratory study examines the roles of hospital and practice nurses with regard to do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR) decisions. The British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have published joint DNAR guidelines. One NHS trust responded by developing a local DNAR policy written for use in hospital and general practice. The study focuses on aspects of compliance with the policy and hence DNAR decision making, in particular, the nurse's involvement in the decision-making process. The response rate to self-administered questionnaires to practice nurses was 52% (n = 45). Hospital nurses (n = 49) were selected for interview using a quota-sampling technique. Comparisons were made of the views of acute and community staff in their use of the DNAR policy. A clear finding is that hospital nurses wish for more autonomy in DNAR decision making and improved methods of communicating with medical colleagues when decisions are made, Practice nurses are currently not involved In DNAR decisions. The appropriateness of developing policies for such complex issues as DNAR, when compliance remains low, questions their validity. This study raises awareness, and adds to the discussion for the need for a multidisciplinary approach to DNAR policy.


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