A nurse is an individual who has the ethical obligation to do good for their patient at all times (non-malevolence). Assisting a person to end his or her life is not considered a good deed by society as it amounts to either murder or manslaughter (Berghs, Dierckx de Casterle and Gastmans, 2004) in spite of the advanced practice nurse has seen the suffering of the patient and diagnosis indicates that nothing can be done and the pain and suffering will only continue.
Patient confidentiality also refutes the nurse from informing others including the family members about the decision by the patient to end their life by being assisted by a physician. The issue therefore weighs down the nurse and the guilt is even worse and especially for those who believe that the moral and legal aspect of it overrides the nursing ethics of acting according to the patient’s orders and making the patient happy and comfortable at all times (Dierckx de Casterle, Verpoot, De Bal and Gastmans, 2006).
Berghs, M., Dierckx de Casterle, B. and Gastmans, C. (2004). “The complexity of nurses’ attitudes toward euthanasia: a review of the literature.” Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 31, pp. 441-446.
Dierckx de Casterle, B., Verpoot, C., De Bal, N. and Gastmans, C. (2006). “Nurses views on their involvement in euthanasia: a qualitative study in Flanders (Belgium).” Journal of Medical Ethics, vol. 32 (4), pp. ...
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