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Nurses'definitions of and attitudes towards euthanasia


McInerney, F and Seibold, C, Nurses'definitions of and attitudes towards euthanasia, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 22, (1) pp. 171-182. ISSN 0309-2402 (1995) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648


A major impetus for this study was recent literature that assumed that nurses’definitions of euthanasia and consequent opinions on decision making are unproblematic The purpose of this study was to identify nurses’definitions of and attitudes towards euthanasia Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with nurses working in a variety of clinical practice settings The majority of nurses could distinguish between active and passive euthanasia, but it was only in terms of active euthanasia that the debate was seen as significant It was considered that the term passive euthanasia, particularly in relation to withdrawal of treatment, has served to confuse the real debate centring around active euthanasia Only two participants were in favour of active euthanasia, but emphasized the need for ‘a community of shared responsibility’ in decision making The major finding of the study was the commitment of all participants to caring for and ensuring the comfort of the dying patient The concepts of ordinary and extraordinary forms of treatment and heroic measures were seen as worthy of debate in the context of dying with dignity rather than of euthanasia There was an associated aversion to inappropriate heroic measures, which were perceived as prolonging death and interfering with ‘dying with dignity’ The development of a personal and moral/ethical stance (in relation to euthanasia) was shown to be an evolving process embedded in a caring philosophy and emphasizing the contextual nature of providing appropriate care.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Nursing
Research Field:Nursing not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Nursing
UTAS Author:McInerney, F (Professor Fran McInerney)
ID Code:95530
Year Published:1995
Web of Science® Times Cited:17
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-10-03
Last Modified:2014-10-09

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