What are the ethical issues surrounding 'intentional death' in different nursing roles? A critical review
AbstractBACKGROUND: The ethical aspects regarding the nurse‟s role in „intentional-death‟ is a highly controversial debate in contemporary nursing. AIM: This review aims to critically explore the question “to what extent can it be said that nurses working in warzones, euthanasia, and abortion are breaking moral codes of nursing?” METHOD: A critical review method is applied. RESULTS: By exploring the concepts of care and nursing, the review proposes that nurses are not breaking professional codes of nursing by participating in „intentional-death‟ activities, although depending on the country, they may be breaking legal codes. With this is mind, it explores the ethical issues surrounding „intentional-death‟ using Beauchamp and Childress‟s Principlism as the guiding theory for the review. Three correlations are considered; the relationship between beneficence and nonmaleficence, respect for autonomy, and the impact of external circumstances – namely Direct vs. Indirect killing, seeing the act as a Last Resort, and the availability of Support Mechanisms - on the moral rules and judgements of the act. Of the three principles used to compare the considered nursing roles it is concluded that autonomy attracts the weightier consideration. A consideration, it could be argued, which outweighs concern that nurses working in warzones, euthanasia and abortion break certain moral codes. The results suggest nurses working in euthanasia and warzones do sometimes break legal or professional codes, but do not break moral codes of nursing. Abortion nurses, by refusing to explore the issue ethically, do break these codes. CONCLUSIONS: It is concluded that nurses working in both euthanasia and abortion services need to be educated further on their conscientious rights to objection, and the value of expressing and discussing their ethical and moral feelings to other colleagues needs to be reinforced. Additionally euthanasia nurses need further education in ethics, legal and health policy issues.
TypeDissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Tolman, Sarah (2011) What are the ethical issues surrounding 'intentional death' in different nursing roles? A critical review. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)