Lessons from the past for contemporary Australian nursing students: The Nazi euthanasia program

Publisher:
Churchill Livingstone / Elsevier
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Nurse Education in Practice, 2006, 6 pp. 31 - 39
Issue Date:
2006-01
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The euthanasia program instituted in Nazi Germany resulted in the murder of 70,000 developmentally disabled adults and children. These murders were sanctioned by physicians but often carried out by nurses. This paper discusses how by utilising this event, contemporary nursing students became aware of historical incidents relevant to the developmentally disabled. They were also able to identify and confront their own values and relate them to their nursing practice. The paper presents an educational strategy that has been employed with undergraduate nursing students and includes reflections from the academic staff on this exercise. Their reactions indicate that they found reviewing this painful episode of history pertinent to them and a classroom exercise of value to both teaching staff and students
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