Concordance of Nurses and Physicians on Whether Critical Care Patients Are Receiving Futile Treatment

Author(s): Thanh H. Neville, MD, MSHS, Joshua F. Wiley, MA, Myrtle C. Yamamoto, RN, Mark Flitcraft, RN, MSN, Barbara Anderson, RN, BSN, CNML, J. Randall Curtis, MD, MPH, and Neil S. Wenger, MD, MPH

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP A 1.00

Expires Sep 01, 2019

Topics: Ethics, Palliative/End-of-life Care

Population: Lifespan

Role: Staff

Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

Added to Collection

Activity Summary

Nurses and physicians often describe critical care that is not expected to provide meaningful benefit to a patient as futile, and providing treatments perceived as futile is associated with moral distress.


  • Identify common reasons why nurses consider treatment for critically ill patients futile.
  • Describe the differences between physicians’ and critical care nurses’ perceptions of care that is considered futile.
  • Discuss possible explanations for the differences between nurses’ and physicians’ perceptions of whether or not a patient is receiving futile treatment.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. Approval of a continuing education activity does not imply endorsement by AACN or ANCC of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with the activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation, ANCC Provider Number 0012 (60 min contact hour). AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing, California Provider number CEP01036 for 1.2 contact hours (50 min contact hour).

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.