Our founder and executive director, Lisa Vigil Schattinger, MSN, RN, was interviewed for an American Journal of Nursing article regarding the role of nurses in Medical Aid in Dying for the terminally ill. The article examines the impact of Medical Aid in Dying laws on the practice of nursing. In particular, it examines how nurses working in end-of-life care can and should be trained and supported so that they are prepared to respond to inquiries about Medical Aid in Dying—whether they work in a state with a law or not.
Aid in Dying: Implications for Nurses*
by Roxanne Nelson
* This article is behind a paywall
Last year the American Nurses Association (ANA) issued a revised position statement to provide guidance on ethical decision-making in response to a patient’s request for an assisted death. The ANA does not support or oppose current laws but seeks to address the ethical questions and challenges nurses are increasingly confronted with as access continues to expand in the United States.“
Ms. Schattinger is prominently featured in the article that focuses on both the ethical and legal aspects of what is and what is not included in the laws. It further details how each nurse may decide to work with a patient requesting medical aid in dying or consider conscientious objection which is her or her right under current guidelines. She is quoted, saying:
There are important details in fulfilling the steps required to qualify, and each state’s law is slightly different.” At times, she (Schattinger) says, nurses may avoid having conversations with patients about accessing this type of care. Yet, “nurses may sometimes need to explore the concept that death is part of life and that healthcare at the end of life involves providing care in accordance with each patient’s personal values, beliefs, and preferences.”