Almost half - 49% - of the members of the Cyprus Nurses and Midwives Association (CyNMA) said they were positive about the possibility of euthanasia for people who are suffering, according to the results of a survey regarding euthanasia, suicide assisted by health professionals and assisted dying.
The survey was carried out by the National Bioethics Committee in cooperation with CyNMA and the University of Nicosia, a UNIC press release said.
According to the results, 49% of the CyNMA members say "yes" to the possibility of euthanasia for people who are suffering.
Also, 47% of respondents argue that the Association should support all efforts to legislate euthanasia, health professional-assisted suicide and health professional-assisted dying.
A percentage of 49% of the participants agree, or rather agree, with the opinion that the possibility should be given for euthanasia process to people who are suffering. The majority of participants (38%) are in favor of the opinion that CyNMA should support all efforts to change the law to allow doctors to prescribe relevant drugs to eligible patients.
When asked whether they would agree to actively participate in any way in the process if euthanasia were legally allowed in the future, 23% of the participating nurses and midwives answered positively, while 31% said they did not know or did not want to answer.
Regarding the role of nurses in this process, in a future change of legislation, respondents were given the opportunity to select more than one option: 42% support that nurses should be able to provide evidence-based information to patients about the change in legislation, 31% support the view that nurses should be able to confirm and clarify in each case when their own patients meet the criteria for euthanasia, healthcare professional-assisted suicide or dying, while 36% supported the view that nurses should have no formal role in the process.
If there are proposals to change the legislation in the future to allow doctors to administer drugs with a view to ending patients' lives, the view that this option should be provided to patients with a physical condition that causes unbearable suffering and cannot be alleviated, received the most support (48%) from respondents, followed by terminally ill patients expected to die within 6 months at 31%.
Participants argue that the right to opt for such a procedure should be given to all patients who meet all the relevant conditions (31%) and to patients who meet all the relevant conditions but are physically unable to self-administer such drugs (29% ). At the same time, 61% said that nurses should have the right to choose not to participate in such a process.
Chairman of the Cyprus National Bioethics Committee, Dr. Constantinos Phellas, said that it is necessary to re-examine the way we deal with death in our daily lives. The aim of the research, he said, is to better understand the general picture and the attitudes of the community of nurses and midwives in Cyprus regarding euthanasia, as well as the contribution of the findings to the social and scientific ongoing dialogue on this matter, providing the state with additional data on how health professionals view such procedures.
The survey was carried out between February and March 2022 and 520 members of CyNMA were screened – 75% women, 25% men - among 13 nursing specialties and 15 departments/services.