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Nurse participation in legal executions: an ethics round-table discussion


Shields, L and Watson, R and Darbyshire, P and McKenna, H and Williams, G and Hungerford, C and Stanley, D and Ben-Sefer, E and Benedict, S and Goodman, B and Draper, P and Anderson, J, Nurse participation in legal executions: an ethics round-table discussion, Nursing Ethics: An international journal for health care professionals, 25, (7) pp. 841-854. ISSN 0969-7330 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 the authors

DOI: doi:10.1177/0969733016677870


A paper was published in 2003 discussing the ethics of nurses participating in executions by inserting the intravenous line for lethal injections and providing care until death. This paper was circulated on an international email list of senior nurses and academics to engender discussion. From that discussion, several people agreed to contribute to a paper expressing their own thoughts and feelings about the ethics of nurses participating in executions in countries where capital punishment is legal. While a range of opinions were presented, these opinions fell into two main themes. The first of these included reflections on the philosophical obligations of nurses as caregivers who support those in times of great need, including condemned prisoners at the end of life. The second theme encompassed the notion that no nurse ever should participate in the active taking of life, in line with the codes of ethics of various nursing organisations. This range of opinions suggests the complexity of this issue and the need for further public discussion.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Capital punishment, codes of ethics, end-of-life issues, palliative care, professional ethics, topic areas
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Applied ethics
Research Field:Bioethics
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Ethics
Objective Field:Bioethics
UTAS Author:Anderson, J (Dr Judith Anderson)
ID Code:140528
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2020-08-25
Last Modified:2020-09-21

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