Journal of medical ethics vol:31 issue:8 pages:441-6
In this literature review, a picture is given of the complexity of nursing attitudes toward euthanasia. The myriad of data found in empirical literature is mostly framed within a polarised debate and inconclusive about the complex reality behind attitudes toward euthanasia. Yet, a further examination of the content as well as the context of attitudes is more revealing. The arguments for euthanasia have to do with quality of life and respect for autonomy. Arguments against euthanasia have to do with non-maleficence, sanctity of life, and the notion of the slippery slope. When the context of attitudes is examined a number of positive correlates for euthanasia such as age, nursing specialty, and religion appear. In a further analysis of nurses' comments on euthanasia, it is revealed that part of the complexity of nursing attitudes toward euthanasia arises because of the needs of nurses at the levels of clinical practice, communication, emotions, decision making, and ethics.