Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: Knowledge, attitudes and experiences of nurses in Andalusia (Spain)

Nursing Ethics 19 (5):677-691 (2012)
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Abstract

The aim of this study is to assess the knowledge, attitudes and experiences of Spanish nurses in relation to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. In an online questionnaire completed by 390 nurses from Andalusia, 59.1% adequately identified a euthanasia situation and 64.1% a situation involving physician-assisted suicide. Around 69% were aware that both practices were illegal in Spain, while 21.4% had received requests for euthanasia and a further 7.8% for assisted suicide. A total of 22.6% believed that cases of euthanasia had occurred in Spain and 11.4% believed the same for assisted suicide. There was greater support (70%) for legalisation of euthanasia than for assisted suicide (65%), combined with a greater predisposition towards carrying out euthanasia (54%), if it were to be legalised, than participating in assisted suicide (47.3%). Nurses in Andalusia should be offered more education about issues pertaining to the end of life, and extensive research into this area should be undertaken

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