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Ethical Decision Making in Clinical Emergencies

Fedorka, Patricia PhD, RNC; Husted, Gladys L. PhD, RN


Bioethics is integral to nursing care and serves as the basis for decision making in simple and complex clinical situations. Ethical decision making serves as the basis for respecting patients' wishes/decisions, especially when the patient is not able to actively participate in the decision making process. By utilizing the symphonological approach as a guide to the contextual application of the bioethical standards, the nurse is able to act with or for patients, and protect her/his own integrity.

From the Duquesne University School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, Pa.

We thank our graduate ethics class, summer of 2001, for their insightful comments regarding the analysis of this case.

Corresponding author: Patricia Fedorka, PhD, RNC, Duquesne University School of Nursing, 600 Forbes Ave, 6th Floor, College Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15282 (e-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.