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Keywords

assisted death, assisted suicide, nurse, palliative care, scoping review, voluntary euthanasia

 

Authors

  1. Suva, Grace MN, RN
  2. Penney, Tasha MN, RN
  3. McPherson, Christine J. PhD, RN

Abstract

In June 2016, Bill C-14 or Medical Assistance in Dying legislation became law in Canada. With this law came changes to nurses' (ie, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, registered practical nurse) scopes of practice, roles, and responsibilities. While federal law, regulatory, and organizational policies are developed to inform nurses about the practice of medical assistance in dying, there is little evidence examining how nurses' roles and responsibilities are enacted in practice. Therefore, a scoping review was conducted to synthesize the evidence on nurses' roles and responsibilities in relation to medical assistance in dying and to identify gaps in the literature. A secondary aim was to identify organizational supports for nurses to effectively and ethically engage in medical assistance in dying. Using a recognized and rigorous scoping review methodology, the findings from 24 research studies were synthesized in this article. The analysis highlights the importance of effective health care professional engagement with the individual in the decision-making process and of the need to educate, support, and include nurses in providing medical assistance in dying. Overall, the current research on medical assistance in dying is limited in Canada, and more attention is needed on the role of the nurse.