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Nurse education
Concept of unbearable suffering needs to be better understood by nurses
  1. Sara Pinto1,2,3
  1. 1 Escola Superior de Enfermagem do Porto, Porto, Portugal
  2. 2 Cintesis@Rise, Nursing School of Porto (ESEP), Porto, Portugal
  3. 3 University of Coimbra Faculty of Medicine, Coimbra, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Sara Pinto, Escola Superior de Enfermagem do Porto, Porto, Portugal; sara.o.pinto{at}

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Commentary on: Ortega-Galán ÁM, Ruiz-Fernández MD, Roldán-Rodríguez L, et al. Unbearable suffering: a concept analysis. J Hosp Palliat Nurs 2022; 24(3):159–166.

Implications for practice and research

  • Unbearable suffering (U-Suffering) is an important determinant for spiritual distress, loss of dignity and euthanasia requests.

  • Further research is required to develop a deep and comprehensive definition, as well as the ability to use the concept empirically.


The study starts with the discussion about the legalisation of euthanasia in Spain, and aims to analyse the concept of U-Suffering as a foundation for the development of a new nursing diagnosis.1 Suffering is deeply connected with human existence, and its relief is a pivotal outcome for nurses and other healthcare providers. However, the assessment of a patient’s suffering (and whether it is unbearable) is one of the most difficult requirements to form a judgement on.2 The lack of clarity may …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.