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Nursing staff and euthanasia in the Netherlands. A nation-wide survey on attitudes and involvement in decision making and the performance of euthanasia.

Francke, A.L., Albers, G., Bilsen, J., Veer, A.J.E. de, Onwuteaka-Philipsen, B.D. Nursing staff and euthanasia in the Netherlands. A nation-wide survey on attitudes and involvement in decision making and the performance of euthanasia. Patient Education and Counseling: 2016, 99(5), 783-789
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Objectives
To give insight into Dutch nursing staff’s attitudes and involvement regarding euthanasia.

Methods
The sample was recruited from a nation-wide existent research panel of registered nurses and certified nursing assistants. Descriptive analyses and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed.

Results
587 respondents (response of 65%) completed the questionnaire. The majority (83%) state that physicians have to discuss the decision about euthanasia with the nurses involved. Besides, 69% state that a physician should discuss a euthanasia request with nurses who have regular contact with a patient. Nursing staff who have religious or other beliefs that they consider important for their attitude towards end-of-life decisions, and staff working in a hospital or home care, are most likely to have this opinion. Being present during the euthanasia is quite unusual: only a small group (7%) report that this has ever been the case in their entire working life. Seven% (incorrectly) think they are allowed to administer the lethal drugs.

Conclusion
The majority want to be involved in decision-making processes about euthanasia. Not all are aware that they are not legally allowed to administer the lethal drugs.

Practice implications
Nursing staff should be informed of relevant existing legislation and professional guidelines. (aut. ref.)
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