Difference between Medical Students and Nursing Students about Awareness and Attitude toward Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Medical Treatment

연명치료 중단 인식과 태도에 대한 의대생과 간호대생의 차이

  • Jeon, Jaehee (Department of Nursing, Gangneung-Wonju National University)
  • 전재희 (국립강릉원주대학교 간호학과)
  • Received : 2019.06.04
  • Accepted : 2019.08.20
  • Published : 2019.08.28


This study is a descriptive research to measure the awareness and attitude toward withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment (WLSMT) among medical and nursing students. The data collection was conducted between 8 October and 15 November 2018, and the responses of 240 students were analyzed. The analysis results are as follows. More than 95 percent of medical and nursing students said the WLSMT was necessary. The medical students answered that 'patient's will' is important and nursing student answered that 'patient and family's will' is important. The nursing student showed that "family will and decision" was more important than the medical student in deciding to discontinue life care. Based on the results of the study, continuous discussion on the development and application of education programs to form attitudes and awareness of the discontinuation of life-saving treatments based on correct values is needed for prospective medical students and nursing students.


Attitude;Awareness;Medical student;Nursing student;Withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment


  1. S. M. Kim, K. S. Kim, I. S. Lee & S. Y. Kim. (2013). Perception towards Advance Directives, Hospice-palliative Care, Life-sustaining Treatment among the Middle Aged Adults. Korean J Soc Welf Res, 37, 21-44.
  2. Y. K. Hyun. (April 29th 2018). 'Controversy over' Life-sustaining Treatment Britain's Baby Alfie Went to the Kingdom of Heaven. Yonhop News,
  3. K. W. Song. (May 21th 2009). Patient Can be Stopped Treatment If Patient is Confirmed in Non-recoverable Stage.
  4. G. M. Kim, K. S. Sung & E. J. Kim. (2017). Awareness of Nursing Students' Biomedical Ethics and Attitudes toward Withdrawal of Life-sustaining Treatment. Child Health Nurs Res, 23(3), 292-299. DOI : 10.4094/chnr.2017.23.3.292
  5. K. J. Lee & S. Y. Yoo. (2011). Relationships between Nurses' Ethical Dilemma, Coping Types, Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intention in Korea. The Journal of Korea Clinical Research, 17(1), 1-15.
  6. S. S. Han. (2005). Doctor's and Nurses' Perception and Experiences of DNR. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing Administration, 11(3), 255-264.
  7. G. M. Kim, K. S. Sung & E. J. Kim. (2017). Awareness of Nursing Students' Biomedical Ethics and Attitudes toward Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Treatment. Child Health Nursing Research, 23(3), 292-299. DOI : 10.4094/chnr.2017.23.3.292
  8. E. Y. Kim, E. H. Seo & E. Y. Jung. (2017). Knowledge and Attitudes toward the Withdrawal of Life-sustaining Treatment among Nursing Students. Journal of East-west Nursing Research, 23(1), 1-8. DOI : 10.14370/jewnr.2017.23.1.1
  9. Legislation. (February 3th 2016). Hospice Palliative Care and Dying In the Case of the Ethical Care Decision of the Patient Articles 2 and 3 of the Act.
  10. J. K. Um, G. H. Suh & S. A. Park. (2018). Life-sustaining Treatment Attitude, Stress and Advanced Directives Awareness in ICU Nurses. Bioethics, 19(1), 37-50.
  11. C. K. Koh, C. M. Ko & H. Park. (2017). Critical Care Nurses' Perception of Life-sustaining Treatment at End of Life: A Content Analysis. Journal of Korean Critical Care Nursing, 10(1), 41-50.
  12. W. J. Kim & J. S. Kang. (2015). A Comparison of the Understanding of the Withdrawal of Life-sustaining Treatment between Intensive Care Unit Nurses and Patients' Family Members. Korean Journal of Medical Ethics. 18(4), 424-441. DOI : 10.35301/ksme.2015.18.4.424
  13. E. J. Yeun, H. J. Kim, M. S. Jeon & J. A. Yoon. (2012). A Comparison General Public and Health Prefessionals' Perception toward Life-Sustaining Treatment. Journal of Human Subjectivity, 25, 21-34.
  14. H. K. Lee & H. S. Kang. (2010). Attitudes and Awareness towards the Withdrawal of Life-sustaining Treatment among Nurses, Physicians, and Families of Intensive Care Unit Patients. Journal of Korean Clinical Nursing Research. 16(3), 85-98.
  15. S. J. Lee & H. Y. Kim. (2017). Attitude, Role Perception and Nursing Stress on Life Sustaining Treatment among Intensive Care Unit Nurses. Korean Journal of Adult Nursing, 29(2), 131-142. DOI: 10.7475/kjan.2017.29.2.131
  16. J. S. Lee. (2019). Long-Term Care Hospital Nurses' Perception and Attitude on Life-Sustaining Treatment Decision. Master's thesis, Gwangju University, Gwangju.
  17. E. S. Choi. (2015). Nurses' Awareness of Biomedical Ethics and Their Attitude Toward Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Treatment. Department of Nursing, Master's Thesis. Gangneung-Wonju National University, Wonju.
  18. M. O. Ha. (2010). Nurses' Awareness and Attitudes Concerning the Termination of Life-sustaining Medical Care. Master's Thesis. Kyung Hee University, Seoul.
  19. E. J. Choi & H. S. Jeong. (2018). The Effects of Nursing Student's Consciousness of Biomedical Ethics, Good Death Recognition, and Self-Esteem on the Attitude toward Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Treatment. Journal of the Korea Academia-Industrial cooperation Society, 19(5), 275-284. DOI: 10.5762/KAIS.2018.19.5.275
  20. Y. Koh. (2009). Physician's Role and Obligation in the Withdrawal of Life-sustaining Management. Journal of the Korean Medical Association. 52(9), 871-879. DOI:10.5124/jkma.2009.52.9.871
  21. S. S. Han, K. S. Hwang, K. H. Meng, D. I. Lee, Y. R. Um & Y. M. Koo. (1998). Organ Transplantation and Biomedical Ethics: An Analysis of Hospital Organ Transplantation Policy and a Proposal of Ethical Guideline. The Journal of the Korean Society for Transplantation, 12(1), 7-22.
  22. H. I. Kang & Y. H. Yom. (2003). Awareness and Experience of Nurses and Physicians on DNR. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing Administration, 9(3), 447-458.
  23. A. K. Kim & G. S. Park. (2000). The Study of Meaning in Euthanasia and Hospiece Nursing among Nurses. Journal of Korean Academy of Fundamentals of Nursing, 7(3), 379.
  24. E. K. Byun, H. R. Choi, A. L. Choi, N. M. Kim, K. H. Hong & H. S. Kim. (2003). An Investigative Research on the Attitudes of Intensive Care Unit Nurses and Families on Terminating Life Support. Clinical Nursing Research, 9(1), 112-124.
  25. Y. J. Oh & E. M. Lee. (2017). Convergence Awareness and Ethical Attitudes about DNR of Nursing Students. Journal of the Korea Convergence Society, 8(2), 63-72. DOI : 10.15207/jkcs.2017.8.2.063
  26. Y. B. Lee. (2007). Nurses' and Doctors' Perceptions, Experiences, and Ethical Attitudes on DNR. Journal of Korean Clinical Nursing Research, 13(2), 73-85.
  27. S. M. Kim. (2010). Recognition and Attitudes on DNR of College Students(Focused on Comparison between Nursing and Non-Health Department College Students). Journal of Academia-industrial Technology, 11(12), 4907-4921. DOI : 10.5762/kais.2010.11.12.4907
  28. S. Y. Park. (2011). Ethical Attitudes and Perception of DNR for the Elderly among Nurses, Doctors and Patient Family. Master's Thesis. Hanyang University, Seoul.
  29. Y. S. Koh. (2016). Decision of Life-sustaining Treatment for Dying Patients at Medical Fields. In Boiethics Forum, 5(1), 1-14.
  30. D. S. Heo. (2008). End-of-life Decision in Korea. Journal of the Korean Medical Association, 51(6), 524-529. DOI : 10.5124/jkma.2008.51.6.524
  31. S. Y. Mun. (2009). A Study on Bio-Ethics in University Education. Bioethics, 10(2), 13-24.
  32. G. C. Persad, L. Elder, L. Sedig, L. Flores & E. J. Emanuel. (2008). The Current State of Medical School Education in Bioethics, Health law, and Health Economics. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 36(1), 89-94. DOI:10.1111/j.1748-720x.2008.00240.x