The Complexities of Non-Beneficial Treatment: How Do We Respond?

Katherine Brown-Saltzman, MA, RN



Non-beneficial treatment is treatment that has no realistic chance of providing a therapeutic benefit. Nurses are frequently participants in situations with patients, families, and physicians that may involve potentially non-beneficial treatment. This audio program defines non-beneficial treatment, explores why non-beneficial treatment continues to be offered and expected and the damage incurred by continuing to provide these treatments especially when they have reached the level of becoming harmful. The ethical issues and strategies that nurses can utilize to address non-beneficial treatment are discussed.

Purpose/Goal: To provide nurses with knowledge regarding non-beneficial treatment and strategies for addressing this ethical challenge.


1. Define non-beneficial treatment and discuss the complexities of prognosis, values and perspectives that are part of the equation.
2. Identify actions that nurses can take to address harmful treatment.


Katherine Brown-Saltzman, MA, RN, is the Co-Director of the UCLA Health System Ethics Center and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCLA School of Nursing. Since 1975 her clinical practice focused on end of life care, leading to her work in ethics. She co-founded the UCLA Ethics Center, is a member of three ethics committees and co-chairs the UCLA Medical Center's Committee. She received her B.S.N. from Marquette University and her M.A. from Lesley College in Cambridge, MA. She has been active in developing interdisciplinary programs on sustaining self-care, moral distress, mentoring and ethics education. Co-founding, Ethics of Caring she is the president of the non-profit and the chair of the planning committee. She lectures nationally/internationally and her publications include issues related to ethics, spirituality and self-care. Her area of research is centered on nurses early indicators and risk factors for ethical issues in nurses clinical practice. She has received the Oncology Nursing Society's Mara Mogenson Flaherty Award, a national recognition for her contributions to psychosocial care.

The planners and author(s) of this continuing nursing education activity have disclosed no relevant financial relationships with any commercial companies pertaining to this activity.

Contact Hours: 1.5

Expiration Date: 12/31/2014


Member Price: $0.00
Non-Member Price: $55.00

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