Moral Challenges of Nurses and Volunteers in Dutch Palliative Care. A Qualitative Study

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Objective: To identify moral challenges experienced by nurses and volunteers in palliative care. Methods: A qualitative hermeneutic research design was used. Interviews with nurses (N = 10) and volunteers (N = 4) working in palliative care, in-home care, and hospice setting. Participants were recruited through maximum variation, a purposive sampling technique. Transcriptions were analyzed using qualitative thematic content analysis and open coding. Results: Two themes were identified, each with three subthemes: theme (A) Moral challenges regarding organizational and professional aspects contained the subthemes (1) dealing with protocols and regulations, (2) different professional perspectives on good care, and (3) limits of professionalism. Theme (B) Moral challenges regarding the patient and their family members contained the subthemes (1) dealing with the patient's wishes, (2) the patient's wish to die, and (3) dealing with family members. Conclusion: Nurses and volunteers working in palliative care are confronted with a wide range of moral challenges. Insight into 'real-world ethical challenges' of healthcare providers is important to provide adequate support to nurses and volunteers working in palliative care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of palliative care
Early online date25 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 May 2022


  • ethics
  • ethics support
  • moral challenges
  • nurses
  • palliative care
  • volunteers

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