'Do not attempt resuscitation' decision-making: a study exploring the attitudes and experiences of nurses

Nurs Crit Care. May-Jun 2004;9(3):115-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1362-1017.2004.00065.x.


At the time of the research being undertaken, a policy regarding resuscitation decisions did not exist at a local hospital. However, it was proposed that a new 'do not attempt resuscitation' policy should be implemented. Nurses' attitudes to, and experiences of, the communication involved in 'do not attempt resuscitation' decision-making were explored and compared with five variables (nurses' age, nurses' grade, years of nursing, area of nursing practice and length of nursing experience on current ward). Seventy-eight qualified nurses, who made up a convenience sample, participated in the study. An adapted questionnaire was used to explore nurses' attitudes to, and experiences of, 'do not attempt resuscitation' decision-making. The findings suggested that nurses' attitudes did generally concur with the guidelines outlined in the new policy. However, in practice, there were many disparities between nurses' experiences of current 'do not attempt resuscitation' decision-making and the policy's guidelines. There were no significant differences between nurses' attitudes to current 'do not attempt resuscitation' decision-making and the five variables. However, there was one significant difference identified between nurses' experiences and the area of nursing practice (p=0.008). To adhere to the principles of the forthcoming 'do not attempt resuscitation' policy at the local hospital, the research findings have suggested that changes need to occur to both nurses' attitudes to and nurses' experiences of current 'do not attempt resuscitation' decision-making.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Communication
  • Decision Making, Organizational
  • England
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / standards
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Male
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / ethics
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Organizational Policy
  • Patient Participation / psychology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Resuscitation Orders* / ethics
  • Resuscitation Orders* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires