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Nurses' preferred end-of-life treatment choices in five countries


  • We have permission from the author to use their questionnaire. The author of the questionnaire is one of the researchers in the study and contributed to the paper (Professor W Molloy).

Correspondence address: Dr Alice Coffey, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland; Tel: 00353214901459; Fax: 00353214901493; E-mail:



Previous research has focused on physician's perspectives of end-of-life (EOL) decision making as well as patient and family EOL decision making. There is a lack of research pertaining to the EOL treatment preferences of nurses and especially nurses working in a variety of care settings.


The aim of this study was to compare nurses' EOL treatment preferences in Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy and the USA.


A comparative descriptive design was used with a convenience sample of nurses (n = 1089). A survey questionnaire using EOL hypothetical clinical case scenarios was used to collect data between June 2011 and July 2012.


Nurses in every country consistently chose a more aggressive option for patients than for themselves or for a parent. The treatment preferences of nurses varied from country to country. Lack of knowledge of patients' wishes and duty of care were the main influencing factors on treatment preferences.

Study Limitations

The study was limited to the hypothetical nature of the scenarios; however, the study highlights numerous future research questions.


This study is the first to examine and compare nurses' preferred EOL treatment choices in five countries from three different continents. The findings of this study raise several important questions for healthcare researchers, for policy development, and highlight the need for further international collaboration.

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