David Kenneth Wright


David Kenneth Wright
Associate Professor

2014 Postdoctoral Fellowship Biomedical Ethics McGill University
2013 PhD Nursing University of Ottawa
2007 MScA Nursing McGill University
2004 BSc Anatomy & Cell Biology (with minor in Education) McGill University

Room: RGN 3247A
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 8533
Work E-mail: dk.wright@uottawa.ca

David Wright


David Kenneth Wright is the academic lead for Palliative Care and Nursing Ethics within the Centre for Research on Health and Nursing. He holds specialty certification in hospice palliative care nursing from the Canadian Nurses Association and works clinically at a residential palliative care facility (hospice) in Montreal. Current projects, with colleagues and graduate students, include nursing analyses of palliative sedation, of medical assistance in dying, and of palliative care approaches in diverse contexts such as intensive care, forensic psychiatry, and prison.

Website: https://palliativenursingresearch.com

Research Interests

  • Nursing ethics
  • Palliative Care
  • End-of-life care (including Medical Assistance in Dying)
  • Qualitative research

Select Publications (*denotes trainees)

(Additional publications via Google Scholar)


  • Wright, DK., Peterson, W., & Gifford, W. (2020). Nurses’ ethical considerations during a pandemic. Canadian Nurses Association. Available at: https://cna-aiic.ca/-/media/cna/covid-19/nurses-ethical-considerations-during-a-pandemic_e.pdf
  • Wright, DK., & McPherson, C. (2020, Commentary). Without adequate nursing support for families, dying at home threatens the values of a good death. Evidence-based nursing. https://ebn.bmj.com/content/early/2020/03/25/ebnurs-2019-103214
  • Cadell, S. & Wright, D.K. (2019). Assisted dying. In Gu, D. & Dupre, M.E. (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging. Springer.
  • Wright, DK., & Murray, K. (2016). Physician-assisted dying. In: Essentials in hospice and palliative care: a practical resource for every nurse by Kath Murray, Life and Death Matters Publishing Company.

Book chapter:

  • Macdonald, ME., & Wright, DK. (2020). From “making a decision” to “decision making”: a critical reflection on a discursive shift. In E. Mykhalovskiy, J. Choiniere, P. Armstrong, & H. Armstrong (Eds). Health Matters: Evidence, Critical Social Science and Health Care in Canada (pages 54-79), Toronto: University of Toronto Press. https://utorontopress.com/ca/health-matters-2

Peer-reviewed articles:

  • Ma, K.*, Wright, DK., Vanderspank-Wright, B., Peterson, W., & Carnevale, F.A. (2020, in press). Nurses’ moral experiences of ethically meaningful end-of-life care: Distress, resilience, responsibility, and care. Research and Theory for Nursing Practice.
  • Skinner, E*., Jacob, JD., Vanderspank-Wright, B., & Wright, DK. (2020, in press). Ethics of finitude: Nursing and the palliative approach in geriatric and forensic psychiatry. Global Qualitative Nursing Research.
  • Wright, DK., Gastmans, C., Vandyk, A., & Dierckx de Casterlé, B. (2020). Moral identity and palliative sedation: A systematic review of normative nursing literature. Nursing Ethics, 27(3), 868-886.
  • Hudson, H*., Perron, A., & Wright, DK. (2019). Palliative care & the injustice of mass incarceration: critical reflections on a harm reduction response to end of life behind bars. Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 1(2), 4-16. https://doi.org/10.25071/2291-5796.32
  • Hudson, H*., & Wright, DK. (2019). Towards a guiding framework for prison palliative care nursing ethics. Advances in Nursing Science, 42(4): 341-357.
  • Vanderspank-Wright, B., Wright, DK., & McMillan, K. Thinking about strengths in end-of-life nursing practice: the case of ICU nurses. (2019). International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 25(8), 378-385.
  • Stokes, H*., Vanderspank-Wright, B., Fothergill-Bourbonnais, F., & Wright, DK. (2019). Meaningful experiences and end-of-life care in the intensive care unit: A qualitative study. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 53, 1-7.
  • Forozeiya, D*., Vanderspank-Wright, B., Fothergill-Bourbonnais, F., Moreau, D., & Wright, DK. (2019). Coping with moral distress – the experience of intensive care nurses: An interpretive descriptive study. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 53, 23-29. 
  • Hartley, H*., Wright, DK., Vanderspank-Wright, B., Grassau, P., & Murray, MA. (2019). Dead on the table: a theoretical expansion of the vicarious trauma that operating room clinicians experience when their patients die. Death Studies, 43(5), 301-310.
  • Belanger, E., Towers, A., Wright, DK., Chen, Y., Tradounsky, G., & Macdonald, ME. (2019). Of dilemmas and tensions: A qualitative study of palliative care physicians’ positions regarding voluntary active euthanasia in Quebec, Canada. Journal of Medical Ethics, 45, 48-53.
  • Sofronas, M*., Wright, D.K., & Carnevale, F.A. (2018). Personhood: A concept analysis for nursing ethics, theory, practice and research. Nursing Forum, 53, 406-415.
  • Wright, DK., Brajtman, S., & Macdonald, ME. (2018). Relational ethics of delirium care: Findings from a hospice ethnography. Nursing Inquiry, 25(3), e12234, doi: 10.1111/nin.12234
  • Elmore, J*., Wright, DK., & Paradis, M*. (2018). Nurses’ moral experiences of assisted death: a meta-synthesis of qualitative research. Nursing Ethics, 25(8), 955-972.
  • Wright, DK., Vanderspank-Wright, B., Holmes, D., & Skinner, E. (2017) Forensic nursing and the palliative approach to care: an empirical nursing ethics analysis. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 23(8): 378-385.
  • Pugnaire-Gros, C., Parr, C., Wright, DK, Montreuil, M., & Frechette, J. (2017). Hospital rules and regulations : the perspectives of youth receiving psychiatric care. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Nursing, 30: 18-24.
  • Wright, DK., Chirchikova, M*., Daniel, V*., Bitzas, V., Elmore, J*., & Fortin, ML. (2017). Engaging with patients who desire death: interpretation, presence, and constraint. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal, 27(1): 56-64. 
  • Karsoho, H., Wright, DK., Macdonald, ME., & Fishman, JR. (2017). Constructing physician-assisted dying: the politics of evidence from permissive jurisdictions in Carter v. Canada. Mortality, 22(1): 45-59.
  • Karsoho, H., Fishman, JR., Wright, DK., & Macdonald, ME. (2016). Suffering and medicalization at the end of life: the case of physician-assisted dying. Social Science & Medicine. 170: 188-196.
  • Wright, DK., Brajtman, S., Cragg, B., & Macdonald, ME. (2015). Delirium as letting go: an ethnographic analysis of hospice care and family moral experience. Palliative Medicine. 29: 959-966.
  • Wright, DK., Fishman, JF., Karsoho, H., Sandham, S., & Macdonald, ME. (2015). Physicians and euthanasia: a Canadian print-media analysis of physician perspectives. CMAJ Open. 3(2): E134-139.
  • Wright, DK., Brajtman, S., Macdonald, ME. (2014). A relational ethical approach to end-of-life delirium. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 48:191-198.
  • Wright, DK., Pugnaire-Gros, C. (2012). Theory inspired practice for end-of-life cancer care: an exploration of the McGill Model of Nursing. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal. 22:175-181, 2012.
  • Wright, D., Brajtman, S. (2011). Relational and embodied knowing: nursing ethics within the interprofessional team. Nursing Ethics. 18:20-30.
  • Wright, D., Brajtman, S., Bitzas, V. (2009). Human relationships at the end of life: an ethical ontology for practice. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing. 11:219-227.

Other (blog posts, unsolicited commentaries):

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