assisted dying, end of life, euthanasia, hospice, medical assistance in dying, New Zealand, nurses, nursing, palliative care, qualitative research



  1. Woods, Martin PhD
  2. Rook, Helen PhD


This qualitative study explores the viewpoints of hospice nurses about end-of-life issues and proposed legislation that would allow assisted dying/euthanasia to be performed in New Zealand. The study uses data that were obtained from in-depth interviews with 15 experienced Palliative Care Nurses who were all working at various hospices around New Zealand. A thematic analysis process was used to develop a thematic framework, and the results indicated that there were at least 3 main themes supported by a number of related subthemes. These main themes were as follows: (a) personal values converge with professional ones when hospice nurses are asked to offer their viewpoints, (b) common end-of-life practices are not regarded by hospice nurses as acts of euthanasia, and (c) hospice nurses are greatly concerned about the effects of a euthanasia law on their profession and its relationships with the public. Our findings reveal that the hospice nurses in New Zealand largely hold negative viewpoints about the introduction of legalized assisted dying practices, arguing that such changes will present major challenges to their perceived role within their profession and within society. These findings suggest that this research should have a considerable primary impact among hospice and palliative care nurses in other nations.