Introduction : The concept of palliative sedation is not defined in a uniform way at the international level. In Switzerland, it is outlined by the recommendations issued in 2005.Background : The conceptualization of palliative sedation by nurses is likely to be heterogeneous, due to the diversity of local protocols but also to personal experiences. This poses both epistemological and practical difficulties. Although this point is crucial to take into account in order to define the object of future studies in Switzerland, it has not yet been explored in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.Objectives : To discover and describe the conceptualization of palliative sedation by nurses in a palliative care unit in French-speaking Switzerland.Methods : Exploratory qualitative research with comprehensive individual interviews.Results : Palliative sedation is considered as a treatment of last resort for one or more refractory symptoms. The search for the lowest effective dose and the temporary (at least initially) character of sedation are the main elements put forward by nurses.Discussion and conclusion : The conceptualization of palliative sedation is consistent withSwiss recommendations. These results form a basis for developing a national study on the subject.