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April 19, 2011

Dear Colleague,

I was fortunate to have taken an entire course on death and dying during nursing school. It was an elective and I chose it knowing that I would be working in a critical care unit after graduation. A big focus of this course was communication, which plays a huge role in end-of-life decision making and care.

In the article Life Support Interventions at the End of Life from the American Journal of Nursing, the author shares the following quote from the playwright George Bernard Shaw: "The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred." The author of the article then goes on to say that it is “especially important in end-of-life conversations not to let an illusion become a reality.

Life-Support Interventions at the End of Life: Unintended Consequences CE

The Inner Life at the End of Life

Patients' and Surrogates' Decision-Making Characteristics: Withdrawing, Withholding, and Continuing Life-Sustaining Treatments CE

Incorporating Spiritual Beliefs Into End-of-Life Care CE

Nurses' Involvement in End-of-life Decisions

Beyond Bad News: Communication Skills of Nurses in Palliative Care CE

Hindu End of Life Death, Dying, Suffering, and Karma CE

Take some time to reflect on your own experiences communicating with patients and family members about end-of-life issues. For future discussions, keep in mind the value of establishing trust, providing reassurance, gathering and sharing information, and providing resources and support. Look to the articles in our More Resources collection for more helpful information and guidance.




Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP
Clinical Edito
r

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