Negotiated reorienting: A grounded theory of nurses’ end-of-life decision-making in the intensive care unit
Ann Gallagher, Regina Szylit Bousso, Joan McCarthy, Helen Kohlen, Tom Andrews, Maria Cristina Paganini, Nasser Ibrahim Abu-El-Noor, Anna Cox, Margit Haas, Anne Arber, Mysoon Khalil Abu-El-Noor, Michelle Freire Baliza, Katia Grillo Padilha
Intensive care units (ICUs) focus on treatment for those who are critically ill and interventions to prolong life. Ethical issues arise when decisions have to be made regarding the withdrawal and withholding of life-sustaining treatment and the shift to comfort and palliative care. These issues are particularly challenging for nurses when there are varying degrees of uncertainty regarding prognosis. Little is known about nurses' end-of-life (EoL) decision-making practice across cultures. To understand nurses' EoL decision-making practices in ICUs in different cultural contexts.
We collected and analysed qualitative data using Grounded Theory.
Interviews were conducted with experienced ICU nurses in university or hospital premises in five countries: Brazil, England, Germany, Ireland and Palestine.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 51 nurses (10 in Brazil, 9 in England, 10 in Germany, 10 in Ireland and 12 nurses in Palestine). They were purposefully and theoretically selected to include nurses having a variety of characteristics and experiences concerning end-of-life (EoL) decision-making.
The study used grounded theory to inform data collection and analysis. Interviews were facilitated by using key questions. The comparative analysis of the data within and across data generated by the different research teams enabled researchers to develop a deeper understanding of EoL decision-making practices in the ICU. Ethical approval was granted in each of the participating countries and voluntary informed consent obtained from each participant.
The core category that emerged was 'negotiated reorienting'. Whilst nurses do not make the 'ultimate' EoL decisions, they engage in two core practices: consensus seeking (involving coaxing, information cuing and voice enabling); and emotional holding (creating time-space and comfort giving).
There was consensus regarding the core concept and core practices employed by nurses in the ICUs in the five countries. However, there were some discernible differences regarding the power dynamics in nurse-doctor relationships, particularly in relation to the cultural perspectives on death and dying and in the development of palliative care. The research suggests the need for culturally sensitive ethics education and bereavement support in different cultural contexts.
Literatur zur Studie