Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN)



First Advisor

Joyce P. Miller RN DNP

Second Advisor

Kathleen Clark DNP, RN


Advance directives (AD) are legal documents outlining a patient's preferences for treatment at the end of life. AD allow people to communicate their end-of-life (EOL) decisions about medical care to family, friends, and health care professionals in the event that they are unable to make those decisions themselves. Many nurses observe patients and their families waiting until the patient is at the end of their life before they initiate an AD. With the current rate of aging baby boomers in the United States, AD would appear to be a phenomeron that should be encouraged. Assisting patients with completion of AD must become a priority and a routine part of primary care in which nurses can serve as a change agent. An educational program to teach nurses about AD and the importance of having patients complete their AD in a timely manner. This intervention would avoid the chaos and stress that can occur when a patient is in a healthcare crisis and families are left not knowing what to do. Utilizing Watson's Theory of Human Caring as a framework will provide the foundation of caring, trusting, honesty, and open communication with patients to build an educational program for nurses to assist with completion of AD.


SC 11.MAN.2014.Pappas.RS

Included in

Nursing Commons