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AJOB Primary Research.

Impact of Written Ethics Policy on Euthanasia From the Perspective of Physicians and Nurses: A Multiple Case Study in Hospitals

Euthanasia decision making is a complex process for physicians and nurses that involves clinical, legal, ethical, and personal–emotional aspects. In this respect, attention has been given to hospitals’ written ethics policies on euthanasia. The aim of our study was to explore the impact of a written ethics policy on euthanasia, as experienced by physicians and nurses involved in euthanasia care processes. A qualitative multiple case study in three selected general hospitals was conducted. Grounded theory methodology was used to guide data collection and analysis. The purposive sample resulted in 23 in-depth interviews with physicians (n = 11) and nurses (n = 12). The euthanasia policy gave the care providers a sense of being supported throughout the euthanasia care process. While care providers mainly feel the influence of a euthanasia policy on practical and professional levels of providing care, the influence of a policy on the providers’ ethical reflection and practice is less clear. The study raises questions about the meaning of a written ethics policy for the ethical practice of physicians and nurses, when they have to deal with ethically sensitive issues such as euthanasia.

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Volume 1, Issue 2
April 2010

Essays & Articles.

Lay and Professional Understandings of Research and Clinical Activities in Cancer Genetics and Their Implications for Informed Consent Nina Hallowell, Sarah Parry, Sarah Cooke, Gill Crawford, Anneke Lucassen & Michael Parker
Prescription for Practice: Pharmacists on Moral Conscience Clauses Craig M. Klugman, Clare T. Pettis, Amber J. Joiner, Laura Davidson & Daniel M. Cook