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Adult nursing
Nurses and physicians bring different perspectives to end-of-life decisions in intensive care units
  1. Natalie S McAndrew
  1. Correspondence to Dr Natalie S McAndrew, Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA; natalie.mcandrew{at}

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Commentary on: Laurent A, Bonnet M, Capellier G, et al. Emotional impact of end-of-life decisions on professional relationships in the ICU: an obstacle to collegiality? Crit Care Med. 2017;45:2023–30. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000002710.

Implications for practice and research

  • Nurse–physician relationships influence end-of-life decision experiences.

  • Nurses’ end-of-life decision-making is influenced largely by emphathy toward their patients; physicians are influenced more by consideration of patients’ families.

  • Future research should focus on the relationship between family care and family outcomes during end-of-life decisions, and the effects of nurse and physician moral distress and burnout.


End-of-life decisions are difficult for patients, family members, as well as healthcare professionals, and occur frequently in the intensive care unit (ICU) setting.1–3 It is well documented that communication challenges during decisions about life-sustaining treatments are a source of moral distress.2 4 Inadequate nurse–physician collaboration …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.