Cultivating Compassion: The Practice Experience of a Medical Assistance in Dying Coordinator in Canada

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Abstract

Accessing medical assistance in dying (MAiD) became legal in Canada in June, 2016. This marks a unique time in our history, as eligible persons can now opt for an assisted death and health care professionals can be involved without criminal repercussion. I used an autoethnographic approach to explore and describe my experience of implementing and coordinating a new MAiD program in a local health authority. Part I is a self-reflexive narrative based on journal entries about my immersion in this practice role over a 6 month period. In Part II, I share five emergent storylines: coming to the role (the calling), embodiment (becoming the face of), immersion in clinical practice, interactions with those seeking MAiD, and self survival (sense making). The created story and storylines shine a light on new ethical practice realities, enhance understanding about MAiD as it continues to unfold, and hopefully inspire human centered, compassionate care.

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