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Nurses Attitudes towards Euthanasia - Research Paper Example

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The paper “Nurses’ Attitudes towards Euthanasia” seeks to evaluate ethical issues in nursing. Nurses must deal with problems keeping in mind the legal and professional implications of making any decision. A nurse must constantly combine ethical reasoning and clinical judgment…
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Nurses Attitudes towards Euthanasia

Nurses must deal with these problems keeping in mind the legal and professional implications of making any decision. A nurse must constantly combine “ethical reasoning and clinical judgment” (Nelson. 2006).
 Medicine and advances in science and technology have led to an improvement in the quality of life and have resulted in the prolongation of the lifespan of an average person. This, in turn, leads us to one of the biggest ethical debates that nurses face and that is with respect to the withdrawal of care leading to a patient’s death or euthanasia. In Belgium and the Netherlands, laws declare that euthanasia is legal “under carefully delineated circumstances” and the Belgian euthanasia act defines it as the “administration of lethal drugs at the explicit request of the patient with the explicit intention of shortening the patient’s life” (Berghes, Casterle, & Gastmans, 2005). Nurses are involved in end of life care and its withdrawal or administration of lethal drugs internationally and so their position in this ethical debate is very important and brings them to the front stage. End of life care poses ethical dilemmas for nurses because it is hard for them to witness suffering and they have the urge to end it. In addition, there are inadequate resources like few hospital beds in the Intensive Care Unit, different value judgments and the moral distress in ending a person’s life despite their request for the nurse to do so (Oberle, Hughes, 2001). This debate has ethical, cultural, religious, moral, and legal nuances that add to the nurses’ distress.
 The key element in this debate is the fact that autonomy is very important as stated in the Belgian euthanasia act too. ... Read More
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