The purpose of this study was to determine emergency nurses' knowledge of, attitudes toward, and experiences with advance directives (ADs). This was a descriptive, correlation, mailed survey study sent to a random sample of members of the Emergency Nurses Association. The results, based on the responses of 579 emergency nurses, found that the nurses were not very knowledgeable about ADs in general (68% correct) and even less knowledgeable about the Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA) (51% correct) and their state laws (56% correct). The nurses were experienced with ADs but they were less confident in their ability to assist patients with completing ADs. Forty-seven percent of the nurses agreed that actively assisting some terminally ill patients to die should be made legal. Nurses need information pertaining to ADs in general, the PSDA, and their individual state laws. This could increase their level of confidence in being able to effectively assist patients to understand and complete ADs.
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