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Israeli Oncology and Nononcology Nurses' Attitudes Toward Physician-Assisted Dying: A Comparison Study.

Catherine F. Musgrave
Ilana Margalith
Lydia Goldsmidt
ONF 2001, 50-57 DOI:

Purpose/Objectives: To compare the attitudes of Israeli oncology and nononcology nurses toward physician-assisted dying (PAD) and its legalization and to determine the factors that may be related to their attitudes.

Design: Nonrandomized, correlational study.

Setting: A teaching hospital in Jerusalem, Israel.

Sample: 71 oncology nurses and 52 nurses working in the maternity and nursery departments.

Results: The majority of nurses supported PAD and its legalization, with the greatest support being given when a suffering patient was involved. In the vignettes dealing with the nurse-patient relationship, oncology nurses were significantly less likely than nononcology nurses to agree with PAD but more likely to stay with their patients while the lethal drug was being given. Nononcology nurses were more supportive of legalization than oncology nurses. Religious nurses and nurses who observed religious traditions were significantly less likely to support PAD or vote for its legalization.

Conclusion: Israeli nurses generally are supportive of PAD. However, oncology nurses were less likely to support its practice. In addition, the more religious nurses considered themselves, the less likely they were to support the practice.

Implications for Nursing Practice: Israeli nurses need to be made aware of the ethical, social, and legal implications of PAD and its legalization for the Israeli nursing profession. In addition, more cross-cultural research on attitudes toward PAD needs to be conducted.

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