To describe the perceptions of nurses regarding do-not-resuscitate (DNR) decisions in critical care settings.
A survey assessing knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning DNR status was distributed to all critical care nurses who were registered with the provincial licensing body in Alberta, Canada, and held positions of staff nurse, educator, or manager.
Four hundred and five surveys were completed and returned. Descriptive analyses were conducted.
The term "DNR" was found to be ambiguous. The rationale for DNR orders were also not well articulated in practice. Although nurses believed that patients, families, and nurses should participate in DNR decisions, physicians were most often cited as being responsible for the decision.
Documentation of a comprehensive patient treatment plan and awareness of the rationale for DNR designation are strategies suggested to help achieve desire patient care goals in critical care settings.