Assignment: Standardized Nursing Language: What Does It Mean for Nursing Practice?

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Assignment: Standardized Nursing Language: What Does It Mean for Nursing Practice

Assignment: Standardized Nursing Language: What Does It Mean for Nursing Practice

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To Prepare:

  • Review the concepts of informatics as presented in the Resources, particularly Rutherford, M. (2008) Standardized Nursing Language: What Does It Mean for Nursing Practice?
  • Reflect on the role of a nurse leader as a knowledge worker.
  • Consider how knowledge may be informed by data that is collected/accessed.

The Assignment:

In a 2- to 3-page paper (not including title page and references), address the following:

  • Explain how you would inform this nurse (and others) of the importance of standardized nursing terminologies.
  • Describe the benefits and challenges of implementing standardized nursing terminologies in nursing practice. Be specific and provide examples.

    example, if the decision to withdraw treatment is carried out and death is thereby hastened,

    would this action violate the ethical principal of non-maleficence which demands that

    actions taken must prevent harm to the patient? Nevertheless, it has also been argued that it

    is permissible to withhold or withdraw treatment and allow the disease process to progress

    to a natural death for the patient (Kinsella and Booth 2007). However, any decision to

    withhold or withdraw treatment should be based upon the expectation that the patient can

    no longer benefit from that treatment, it is medically futile and the doctor’s intention when

    doing so must be to relieve the patient of the burdens associated with that treatment

    (Kinsella and Booth 2007).

    J Relig Health (2016) 55:119–134 123


    Withdrawing medical treatment has always been seen as acceptable as there is a clear

    distinction between positive acts and omissions. According to the acts–omissions dis-

    tinction, ‘‘in certain contexts, failure to perform an act, with foreseen bad consequences of

    that failure, is morally less bad than to perform a different act which has the identical

    foreseen consequences. It is worse to kill someone than to let them die’’ (Glover 1977).

    Thus, acting to kill a patient even for good reasons may seem wrong, whereas omitting to

    act by withholding life-saving treatment may seem right in certain compelling circum-

    stances. It follows that permitting an illness to progress naturally, as opposed to making

    something happen by acting intentionally, appears to be more acceptable legally and

    ethically (Glover 1977; McLachlan 2008).

    Medical Futility

    Medical futility is described as an intervention that will not be able to reach the intended

    goal of the intervention (Cavalieri 2001). This usually occurs during assessments on

    whether to forego or withdraw life-sustaining treatments (Centre for Bioethics 2005). The

    determination of medical futility raises ethical concerns, particularly, on the reasons for

    considering the treatment as futile. The fact that such decision rests solely in the hands of

    the healthcare providers may lead to possibilities of the discretion being exercised arbi-

    trarily. For instance, medical treatment may be discontinued not only because it no longer

    benefits the patient, but such continuation may be considered futile in order to save cost

    (Centre for Bioethics 2005; Zahedi et al. 2007). Further, discontinuation of life-sustaining

    treatments particularly artificial nutrition and hydration causes a great deal of ethical

    tension and emotional burden, especially to the family members of a dying patient (al-

    Shahri and Al-Khenaizan 2005; Bülow et al. 2008). Food and water are considered to be

    the basic sustenance of human survival, and denying them to a patient may be viewed by

    family members as starving their loved one to death (Noah 2006).

    However, medical opinions vary on this issue. Some argue that continuing artificial

    nutrition and hydration prevents suffering to a certain extent, while others claim that it is an

    unnecessary burden with no clear symptom benefit (Olsen et al. 2010). There are also those

    that hold the view that nutrition and hydration treatments are palliative care that fulfil a

    basic human need and should not be denied at the end of life (Centre for Bioethics 2005;

    Zahedi et al. 2007). However, in some circumstances, the continuous supply of nutrition

    and hydration may not be beneficial to a dying patient and may in fact be distressing as the

    patient’s gastrointestinal function deteriorates (Kahn et al. 2003). It is therefore suggested

    that the principle of proportionality be applied with regard to life-sustaining treatments at

    end-of-life care. Nutrition and hydration may thus be ethically withheld or discontinued if

    the dying patient suffers burdens that outweigh the life-prolonging benefit, irrespective of

    whether death will be the result (Centre for Bioethics 2005).

    Pain Management/Terminal Sedation

    Terminal sedation is used in end-of-life care to relieve severe suffering. It refers to the use

    of medications to induce decreased or absent consciousness to the extent that the patient

    will no longer feel pain, air hunger or other forms of distress (Kahn et al. 2003; Olsen et al.

    2010). In the practice of euthanasia, a lethal injection is administered in an amount that is

    certain to bring about and ultimately intended to cause the death of the patient, while

    terminal sedation differs from euthanasia in that the dose of medication is maintained

    rather than increased once sedation is achieved; the intent being not to hasten death but to

    124 J Relig Health (2016) 55:119–134

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