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Nurse participation in legal executions: An ethics round-table discussion

Shields, Linda; Goodman, Benny; Draper, Peter; Anderson, Judith; Watson, Roger; Darbyshire, Philip; McKenna, Hugh; Williams, Ged; Hungerford, Catherine; Stanley, David; Ben-Sefer, Ellen; Benedict, Susan

Authors

Linda Shields

Philip Darbyshire

Hugh McKenna

Ged Williams

Catherine Hungerford

David Stanley

Ellen Ben-Sefer

Susan Benedict

Benny Goodman

Judith Anderson

Abstract

A paper was published in 2003 discussing the ethics of nurses participating in executions by inserting the intravenous line for lethal injections and providing care until death. This paper was circulated on an international email list of senior nurses and academics to engender discussion. From that discussion, several people agreed to contribute to a paper expressing their own thoughts and feelings about the ethics of nurses participating in executions in countries where capital punishment is legal. While a range of opinions were presented, these opinions fell into two main themes. The first of these included reflections on the philosophical obligations of nurses as caregivers who support those in times of great need, including condemned prisoners at the end of life. The second theme encompassed the notion that no nurse ever should participate in the active taking of life, in line with the codes of ethics of various nursing organisations. This range of opinions suggests the complexity of this issue and the need for further public discussion.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 1, 2018
Journal Nursing ethics
Print ISSN 0969-7330
Electronic ISSN 1477-0989
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 7
Pages 841-854
Institution Citation Shields, L., Watson, R., Darbyshire, P., McKenna, H., Williams, G., Hungerford, C., …Anderson, J. (2018). Nurse participation in legal executions: An ethics round-table discussion. Nursing Ethics, 25(7), 841-854. https://doi.org/10.1177/0969733016677870
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0969733016677870
Keywords Capital punishment; Codes of ethics; End-of-life issues; Palliative care; Professional ethics
Publisher URL http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0969733016677870
Copyright Statement ©2017 University of Hull
Additional Information This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article which has been accepted for future publication in: Nursing ethics.

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