Research explores RNs’ and NPs’ willingness to participate in Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD)

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) is now a legal end-of-life option in most parts of Australia. The role of registered nurses and nurse practitioners in this practice varies between states and territories and, as VAD is relatively new in Australia, there is little research available on their willingness to participate.

To address the gap, a research team from Griffith University (Professor Ann Bonner, Professor Melissa Bloomer, Dr Joan Carlini, and Dr Jayne Hewitt), Monash University (Emeritus Professor Margaret O’Connor) and Metro North Health (Ms Ilse Berquier) are exploring RNs’ and NPs’ willingness to participate in VAD. The team comprises nurses, a nurse practitioner, and researchers with expertise in VAD law, policy, and implementation.

Interested participants can complete a short (5-minute) voluntary online survey that asks about their views on, and willingness to participate in, VAD. At the end of the survey, there is also an option to agree to potentially take part in an interview about VAD.

The study, funded by the Rosemary Bryant Foundation, is aiming to identify and describe the factors that influence RNs’ and NPs’ decisions to participate in VAD and explore the experiences of those who have participated in, or been exposed to VAD, to understand if authorising them to act as administering practitioners could improve access.

According to researchers, understanding the administering practitioner role, and the factors that may help or hinder participation, will assist jurisdictions in Australia, and globally, that are introducing or reviewing VAD legislation. The findings will provide a foundation for strategies to better promote equitable access and evidence to reform revisions of Australia’s VAD Acts, particularly those in South Australia and Victoria, where there are no legislated roles for NPs or RNs.

To take the survey, please click the link – Willingness to participate in Voluntary Assisted Dying Survey

If you would like more information about the study, please contact Dr Jayne Hewitt via email or phone on 0422 020 054.

The study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee at Griffith University [Ref No: 2023/923]. Any concerns or complaints about the conduct of this study should be directed to the:

Manager, Research Ethics, Griffith University Human Research Ethics Committee, Nathan Campus

170 Kessels Road, NATHAN QLD 4111. Email: / Phone: (07) 3735 4375

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is not responsible for the conduct or reporting of this externally led research project.

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