Title

Physician assisted suicide and Midwest social workers: Are they ready?

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2016

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Lisa Kiesel

Abstract

Physician assisted suicide (PAS) is explicitly legal in four states, legal by court decision in one, and bills have been introduced in 25 other states including Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. This quantitative study was designed to understand Midwest, end of life social workers attitudes towards PAS, their preparedness for the implementation of PAS into their practice, and their awareness of PAS legislation where they practice. Sixty-two end of life social workers from Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin completed an anonymous online survey. The results indicate that over half of the participants support PAS legislation and 1/4 are neutral or undecided which is consistent with previous research done on social workers from other areas of the country. There are diverse feelings of preparedness with a majority feeling moderately to very prepared and found that their professional values, professional experience, and professional values influence their perceived preparedness. Very few social workers had accurate awareness of PAS legislation in their state and few have attended events to gain education or advocate for their position. Implications for practice emphasize the need for end of life social workers to address and analyze their attitudes, values, and beliefs towards PAS and to become involved on a macro-level in order to provide best care to patients on an individual and systemic level.

Keywords

physician-assisted suicide, social workers

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.