ANA Statement on the Rights of Navy Nurse to Refuse to Participate in the Force-feeding of Detainees at Guantanamo Bay (11/19/14)

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Statement attributable to ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN:

ANA has been actively monitoring the force-feeding of detainees at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years, and we support the registered nurses in the military who have to make very difficult decisions related to either moving forward with or questioning any activity within a plan of care.

Professional registered nurses operate under a Code of Ethics that emphasizes the right to make independent, ethical judgments regardless of the setting in which nursing care is provided—even if this causes a nurse to experience conflict arising from competing loyalties.

The rights of registered nurses to honor their professional ethical obligations regarding force-feeding and other sensitive issues are absolutely protected and should be exercised without fear of retaliation.

We urge military leaders and health providers to uphold the ethical code of conduct to which all professional registered nurses are accountable and to be receptive to concerns raised by nurses or any other health care professional who is compelled, by an ethical commitment, to question any activity within the plan of care.

We do not believe this nurse should have to show cause for remaining in the Navy.

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