Nursing Ethics 11 (4):349-365 (2004)

This article provides an overview of the scarce international literature concerning nurses’ attitudes to euthanasia. Studies show large differences with respect to the percentage of nurses who are (not) in favour of euthanasia. Characteristics such as age, religion and nursing specialty have a significant influence on a nurse’s opinion. The arguments for euthanasia have to do with quality of life, respect for autonomy and dissatisfaction with the current situation. Arguments against euthanasia are the right to a good death, belief in the possibilities offered by palliative care, religious objections and the fear of abuse. Nurses mention the need for more palliative care training, their difficulties in taking a specific position, and their desire to express their ideas about euthanasia. There is a need to include nurses’ voices in the end-of-life discourse because they offer a contextual understanding of euthanasia and requests to die, which is borne out of real experience with people facing death
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DOI 10.1191/0969733004ne708oa
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