An overview of the debate
Like any selection of the population nurses express a range of views on sensitive ethical issues. The notion of ending a human life is a profound and emotive concept, particularly for health professionals whose values and code of ethics are orientated to improving and maintaining health wherever possible.
However, the RCN believes that a consultation with members on this area is now appropriate in light of the wider public debate and the recent developments in relation to assisted suicide over the last few years (in particular the high profile suicides at the Zurich Dignitas facility). It is important that nurses understand the issues, both from an ethical and legal standpoint as well as from a patient's perspective.