Critical Thought and Article Summary

Last Updated: 15 Feb 2023
Pages: 2 Views: 15

The article, Providing Artificial Nutrition and Hydration in Palliative Care, attempted to probe nurse’s attitudes towards artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) administration. Upon research, studies were scarce, but the article did share the findings of the few that the author came across. The vast majority of these studies ended with a consensus that administration of ANH truly comes down to the individuality of the patient’s situation. The findings did not conclude whether majority of nurses are for or against providing ANH.

A large component behind either stance is the influence of the patient and/or their family, or other members of the healthcare team. The article discusses that patient autonomy tends to be priority, likely due to nursing values that resemble patient-centered care. Many components of the field, such as socio-professional, ethical, and clinical factors influence the attitude that nurses may have about ANH, but not so much the legal factors, which the author attributes to fear of sounding withdrawn from the patient’s situation (Stiles, 2012, p.41).

The information presented in the article resonated with my prior knowledge in the sense that either side of the debate of providing ANH is very patient-centered. As a CNA, we were taught to always be considerate of the patient and try to meet their standards to the best of our ability in our scope of practice, and now we are being taught the same as nursing students. The studies included in the article were mainly focused on the patient’s wellbeing, and taking into account the concerns of the family.

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A quote I found to be thought provoking was, “Several studies reported that, as nurses gain experience, they are less likely to be in favour of providing ANH to patients who are dying” (Stiles, 2012, p. 40). This quote is particularly interesting as the article discusses that the amount of people for providing ANH are relatively equal to those who are against it, rather than one side being the majority. I would say I agree with the quote, simply because a nurse with more experience has had various chances to observe the patient’s status and behavior while receiving ANH, or even the family’s behavior and input on the situation.

One question I have about the article is: how might attitudes on ANH affect practice on the floor? This is an important question to ask, as patient outcomes are tied with ANH administration or lack thereof. Individuality of each patient situation may require different interventions (i.e. the administration or withholding of ANH), and the attitude of the nurse and prior experience with ANH may come in between this intervention.


  1. Stiles, E. (2013). Providing artificial nutrition and hydration in palliative care. Art & Science, 27, 35-42.

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