Can I Work as a Nurse in Hospice Care?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question: I am a registered nurse considering doing Hospice nursing. The purpose of hospice care is to treat symptoms of the terminally ill and keep the patient as comfortable as possible. Am I permitted to do such work?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum, thank you for your question.

It is permissible for you to work in hospice care. Managing pain and making patients comfortable is praiseworthy and more conducive to making them capable of tawba before the end of their lives. Being a Muslim in the company of non-Muslims before their deaths could very well be great mercy, too.

As for morphine, this is the explanation that I have found: If a person has never received morphine, the initial doses given are low. They are gradually increased to relieve the person’s level of pain or shortness of breath. After a few days of regular doses, the body adjusts to the morphine. The patient becomes less likely to be affected by morphine’s most serious side effect—the slowing of breathing. It would take a large dose to increase over a short time to harm someone. Morphine doses are increased gradually and only as needed to maintain comfort. [CanadianVirtualHospice]

It seems that with the responsible administering of the medicine, it is not be assumed that it hastens death, but that it falls in the category of many other medicines: curing the symptom with some side effects. And Allah knows best. Please see the following links for more information:

Extending Life Support When No Recovery is Expected

Is Euthanasia Permissible?

May Allah grant us all a good ending (husn al khitam).

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterwards, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.