Watch the video below titled, Caring Corrupted: The Killing Nurses of the Third Reich
and then reflect on the following prompt:
This video conjures many emotions, both as a nurse and a moral human being. Most of us entered/will enter the profession of nursing in response to a calling to care for our fellow human beings. For many of us, we believe with an urgent commitment that nursing is who we are, not simply what we do. We are guided by a moral compass that sets our life course based on knowing right from wrong, good from evil.
While it is impossible for us to understand how the nurses in the concentration camps could be complicit in their role as ‘doers’ of euthanasia, it is curious how many of them came to believe that killing was a legitimate part of their caring role. These thoughts beg many questions, the answers for which will be reflective of your own beliefs and values system. Answer the following in your Forum post:
Do you think these nurses were complicit from the beginning, or did they slowly become involved over time until it became easier to cross the line? Once they did cross the line, how might a sense of power have overtaken their moral judgment? Perhaps they were indoctrinated to believe that the health of the public at large was more important than the health of the individual; yet how could they justify their actions to exploit the few for the benefit of the many? Were they simply following orders? Were they motivated by the thought of losing their job, or maybe even their life, if they refused? Could they have truly believed that they were simply relieving these children of their suffering and in so doing were being merciful in their actions?
In the context of your own nursing practice, why is this reflection activity important? Think about your own vulnerability to outside pressures and influences—would you speak up today if your moral position was threatened? Why or why not? Consider this from a position of power that you may or may not have. In today’s challenging healthcare environment, why is it important that we not only understand our moral position but that we also monitor our own response and the response of others?
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