Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


Death is a reality of life. Despite this inevitability, death today remains unwelcome and has been sequestered into the enclaves of medical practice as a means of quelling the rising tide of fear it provokes. Medical practice currently maintains power over the dying individual, actualised through the selective collaboration between medicine and law as a means of subverting the individual who attempts to disrupt the contemporary accepted norms of dying. There is, however, a shift on the horizon as to whether we can make the notion of a true choice become a reality in New Zealand. This serves to offer a compelling movement towards individuals seeking control of their dying trajectory to actualise the notion of individual choice. With this shifting landscape there is an opportunity to be grasped to change how we manage our dying trajectory away from the biomedical patterns of behaviour when dying, in order to balance life decisions. To achieve this prospect, we need to engage with a framework upon which to pin the changes. This paper offers a re-framing and re-presenting approach, using illustrative examples that draw upon British and New Zealand literature, together with over 50 years of professional nursing, and the Ars Moriendi to reflect upon the self-centricity of the contemporary Western individual to access a ‘good death’ of choice.



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