The meaning of euthanasia: Catholic teaching and nurses' practice in the care of the dying

Hoskins, Sylvia Anne (2010). The meaning of euthanasia: Catholic teaching and nurses' practice in the care of the dying. PhD thesis The Open University.



This research study has contributed to the body of knowledge, new knowledge in applying Christian and Catholic moral theological principles to how nurses make end-of-life decisions and the possibility of how they could be involved were euthanasia to be legalised and how this could impact on the Christian nurse's role in caring for the patient. In addition the study has contributed new information on the experiences of one group of nurses working in care homes and how they make end-of-life decisions. The study also confirms research previously undertaken on end-of-life decision-making and the experiences of other nurses in the United Kingdom as well as other countries. Using a qualitative design as a framework, an investigation was undertaken to explore the experiences of eleven qualified nurses from care homes within one geographical area in the north of Scotland, and how they made decisions on end-of-life care. A review of nursing and moral philosophy and moral theology literature is undertaken to place the empirical study within the context of contemporary definitions of euthanasia, current legislation and key debates. The empirical research is evaluated to determine how any legalisation of euthanasia in the United Kingdom could impact on Christian nurses' decision-making and their roles in caring for the patient, in the light of Christian moral principles. The originality of the research lies in the exploration of the phenomenon with a particular group of nurses and the relation of the study findings to Christian moral principles.

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