The problem and possibilities of active euthanasia in the clinical nursing setting: Some educational issues
AuthorsTaylor, Michael G.
AdvisorsBrady, Maureen T.
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractAlthough death is an inevitable consequence of life, the exact time of death has come increasingly under human control. It is now possible to prolong human life beyond the point at which some patients actually want to go on living. It is becoming increasingly difficult to determine the point at which a "gentle and easy" death can be achieved. Many nurses now argue that the time has come to question whether life should be preserved in every case where it is technically possible to do so, regardless of the quality of that existence. This study researches one of the fiercest on-going debates within the area of health-care. That is, the question as to whether the option to use active euthanasia to end a patient's suffering could ever be justified within the clinical nursing setting, where the main role of the nurse has been generally accepted to be one of maintaining and supporting aji human life. In order to consider the problem and possibilities of euthanasia in the clinical nursing setting, and the educational issues involved, this study examines a broad selection of international literature and research papers, from both primary and secondary sources. Particular emphasis is placed upon the studies carried out in Holland - where euthanasia is accepted, provided it is carried out within certain guidelines - and Australia, whose Northern Territories have now legalised active euthanasia. The findings of this research indicate that active euthanasia may not prove to be the straightforward option that many people believe it to be. Every case is different, therefore, every individual case needs to be evaulated individually. Nurses have a responsibility to respect the feelings of those who would wish to end their lives in this way. However, they also have a responsibility to ensure that they will always be able protect the interests of those who would not, especially those who are unable to speak for themselves. The study concludes that British nurses need time to become more familiar with the ethical and legal issues surrounding euthanasia and discover, if legalised, where their professional responsibilities would begin and end. It recommends that a full evaluation must also be made of the possible effects of the Australian legislation and the Dutch experience. It concludes that it is also important to examine alternative options, before such an important (and probably irreversible) moral leap is taken, so that we are sure it is the only way forward.
TypeThesis or dissertation
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