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The role of nurses in AIDS care regarding voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide: a call for further dialogue

Authors


Michael G. Young #2702–2363 Lam Circle, Victoria, BC, V8N 6K8, Canada. E-mail: michaely@uvic.ca

Abstract

The role of nurses in AIDS care regarding voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide: a call for further dialogue

Because of the nature of their work, nurses are directly involved with terminally ill patients and the problems associated with the decision to hasten death through voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide (VE/AS). An anonymous survey delivered to nurses working in HIV/AIDS settings in Canada was used to analyse nurses’ experiences and attitudes regarding VE/AS. An emergent analysis of 22 nurses’ responses to an open-ended prompt appearing at the end of the survey reveals that nurses: support death-hastening practices; believe that legislation for these practices needs to be established; are wary of the potential abuse of VE/AS; and believe that further discussion on end-of-life issues is imperative. Their caring role in the health care setting places nurses in key positions to stimulate discussion in this area.

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