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to different common experiences nurses' have had.
It is important to know that it is normal for nurses who initiate the intravenous access to feel anxious about their ability to get good intravenous access quickly and efficiently – even to the point of being unable to sleep the night before. This is a common experience. Nurses may also feel anxious about their reactions to a MAID death and about their abilities to negotiate a peaceful death that includes a calm atmosphere for persons and their family.
Nurses may experience a flood of emotions after a MAID death. Nurses have described feeling emotionally overwhelmed after their first MAID death or during a death when the person receiving MAID reminds them of someone they know. Other nurses have told us that they frequently cry after a MAID death and that this can be normal. It shows that they are not becoming desensitized to MAID or treating it simply as a medical procedure. The gravity and profundity of that person’s death remains with them. However, for some nurses being involved in MAID has resulted in sadness and rumination, even during their days off of work. In these situations, nurses tell us it is best to step back from this care.
Nurses who have chosen the path of conscientious objection may still feel the impact of a MAID death. In many work contexts, they must provide all care leading up to, and after, the administration of the medication. As such, they also walk this journey with persons and their family while negotiating their own feelings about what is occurring. This requirement to provide care while feeling morally troubled about what is happening can be extremely challenging for these nurses.
TENSION WITH COLLEAGUES
There may be tensions if there is disagreement among colleagues about the moral goodness of MAID or about the appropriateness of MAID in specific situations. Nurses describe staying silent about their views if they know their colleagues disagree with them. Nurses who “proselytize” their views in the workplace, either for or against MAID, create unique tensions. However, a culture of silence can be challenging to negotiate as well.
FEELING AT PEACE
Nurses often describe a MAID death as being painless and peaceful. As a result, they may feel gratitude that the suffering they have witnessed as part of their nursing practice with this patient has finally ended.
Being involved in MAID-related care can produce a profound sense of meaning, purpose, and privilege if nurses feel they are alleviating suffering and making a contribution to a good death for a person and their family.