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October 2021

Assisted suicide and nursing: Possibly compatible?

Journal/Book: J Prof Nursing. 1999; 15: Independence Square West Curtis Center, Ste 300, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3399, USA. W B Saunders Co. 151-159.

Abstract: This article argues that the American Nurses Association's (ANA) prohibition of nurse-assisted suicide is misguided. The ANA's reasons for this policy do not provide the necessary conceptual or empirical support for the prohibition. In fact, arguments appear to lead to support for nurse-assisted suicide: (1) because the claim that death is always harmful may be false, the obligation to ''do no harm'' does not necessarily preclude assisted suicide (AS); (2) currently we have no evidence that AS would erode public trust in nurses; (3) AS may be compatible with the professional integrity of nursing, particularly the commitments to respecting autonomy, promoting patient welfare, and providing compassionate care; (4) nursing's participation would constrain, rather than contribute to, the potential for abuse to vulnerable patient populations; and (5) the professional has a responsibility to either embrace the public's increasing support of aid in dying or determine why AS is morally indefensible and educate the public.

Note: Article White BC, Calif State Univ Los Angeles, Dept Philosophy, Chico,CA 95929 USA

Keyword(s): American Nurses Association; assisted suicide; autonomy; do no harm; professional integrity; trust; POTENTIAL COST SAVINGS; UNITED-STATES; ILL PATIENTS; EUTHANASIA; PHYSICIANS; EXPERIENCE; ATTITUDES; PERSPECTIVE; LESSONS; NURSES

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