Being a part of our society, nurses have to abide by the morals, social values, and norms that a society defends. The social values, morals, and norms have a great impact on the nursing practice when it comes to the issue of sanctity of life and assisted suicide or euthanasia. In many occasions, nurses encounter challenging situations in their practice when treating patients who are in deep pain that makes them prefer death over life (Busada, 2011). Despite the fact that nurses are in position to administer treatment that facilitates a quick and painless death for the patient, they are not authorized to do so. The societal morals, social values, and norms forbid euthanasia or assisted suicide despite the fact that some legal provision may allow it. The sanctity of life is emphasized, especially by social and religious values; the law also prevents nurses from helping patients to take their lives. Any nurse who goes against this can face legal action.
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Ethical principles and theories can be applied differently to the assisted/voluntary euthanasia. The theories can justify euthanasia as well as reject it (Franklin Springs, 2009). Basically, the application of ethical principle is meant to find justification for euthanasia or discourage it. Utilitarianism and Kantian ethics clearly illustrate this. From the utilitarianism perspective, human action should promote happiness, and people should be able to do what pleases them most. Therefore, if a person is in pain and prefers to die, he/she should be facilitated to do so since it is his/her preference. In this case, it is his/her choice to die rather than remain alive and in pain. Kantian ethics, on the other hand, holds that desire for death is the diversion from duty and good will. Moral acts are universal and since desire to die is not universal, the euthanasia is not morally correct since it is not universal as well.
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