Article

Nursing and euthanasia: a review of argument-based ethics literature.

Catholic University of Leuven and Leuven University College, Leuven, Belgium.
Nursing Ethics (Impact Factor: 1.09). 08/2009; 16(4):466-86. DOI: 10.1177/0969733009104610
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This article gives an overview of the nursing ethics arguments on euthanasia in general, and on nurses' involvement in euthanasia in particular, through an argument-based literature review. An in-depth study of these arguments in this literature will enable nurses to engage in the euthanasia debate. We critically appraised 41 publications published between January 1987 and June 2007. Nursing ethics arguments on (nurses' involvement in) euthanasia are guided primarily by the principles of respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence and justice. Ethical arguments related to the nursing profession are described. From a care perspective, we discuss arguments that evaluate to what degree euthanasia can be considered positively or negatively as a form of good nursing care. Most arguments in the principle-, profession- and care-orientated approaches to nursing ethics are used both pro and contra euthanasia in general, and nurses' involvement in euthanasia in particular.

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