Thanks Cowboyardee. I understand the emotional nature of this topic, but I still hate to see it devolve into implications that are pretty much the same as saying the question is invalid and the asker lacks morals/ethics.
Quote from scrubs0204
I'm a nursing student and recently experienced my first code [.........] I am trying to figure out what my mind set should be then next time I go to a code.
First, please know that your questions and conflicting feelings are pretty common in nursing (from students to even experienced nurses sometimes feeling great conflict over "what we've just done"), and watching a first code can be especially poignant.
One thing about having these experiences is that you can't (or don't usually) come out of them without opening the door that leads to learning something about yourself, others, and the world/humanity in general.
The obvious reason we perform resuscitation measures, generally speaking, is because some people can be resuscitated and return to an acceptable quality of life. But for various legal and emotional reasons, situations of conflicted ethics often arise (or perhaps I should say situations where ethical principles might appear to be conflicting).
What I've personally observed over the years (as merely one of many factors that weigh heavily on this issue) is that "DNR" originally was a decision/declaration that patients could make because they didn't
want certain resuscitation measures. That was wonderful - - they know that we might do something that they wouldn't want and they are able to say "If I die, please don't do that to me" ahead of time. Things have kind of become twisted where, in addition to that, people (well, usually their families) say, "you have to
do X, Y, Z" or "she wants everything done" - even though we were never
doing "everything" to begin with, but rather "everything that was considered to be helpful and not futile."
This issue is way more complicated than just "well duh, we do them because who are we to judge someone's quality of life?" This is a topic that can't be discussed from solely an academic standpoint nor
from solely an emotional standpoint.
I think that while you're a nursing student you should allow yourself to simply take in these experiences and mull them over without feeling as if you must come to hard conclusions about every situation like this where there are different angles to consider.