What Nurses Profess: The Elizabeth Bouvia Case
Kane F I
The prospect of nurses’ cooperation in a patient’s suicide raises the question, What do nurses profess? Confronted with the case of Elizabeth Bouvia, who in 1983 entered a California hospital intending to starve to death, a “nurse technician” would simply follow the physician’s prescribed course of treatment, professing only a machinelike proficiency. A “nurse therapist” however, would work to become the patient’s advocate, not judging but empathizing with the patient.4 refs.