Voluntary euthanasia and the nurse: an Australian survey

Int J Nurs Stud. 1993 Aug;30(4):311-22. doi: 10.1016/0020-7489(93)90103-2.


This article presents the results of a survey of the attitudes and practices of nurses in Victoria with regard to requests for active or passive help in dying from patients who were suffering from a terminal or incurable disease. Questionnaires were sent to 1942 nurses who had been selected at random, 943 nurses (49%) of whom returned completed questionnaires. The survey indicates that a clear majority of those who responded to the questionnaire support active voluntary euthanasia. Many nurses have collaborated with doctors in the provision of active voluntary euthanasia and a few have acted without consulting a doctor. Seventy-eight per cent of nurses thought the law should be changed to allow doctors to take active steps to bring about a patient's death under some circumstances; and 65% of nurses indicated that they would be willing to collaborate with doctors in the provision of active voluntary euthanasia if it were legal.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Double Effect Principle
  • Ethics
  • Ethics, Nursing
  • Euthanasia*
  • Euthanasia, Active, Voluntary*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Male
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Physicians
  • Religion
  • Right to Die
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Victoria
  • Withholding Treatment