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Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and Aid in Dying

ANA Position Statement

Approved: April 24, 2013
Status: Revised, Combined Position Statement
Originated by: ANA Center for Ethics and Human Rights
Adopted by: ANA Board of Directors

Purpose
Historically, nurses have played a key role in caring for patients at end-of-life across healthcare settings. Nurses provide expert care throughout life’s continuum and at end-of-life in managing the bio-psychosocial and spiritual needs of patients and families both independently and in collaboration with other members of the interprofessional healthcare team. While resources do exist to educate and support nurses in this role, there are limited resources to assist nurses in understanding and responding to patient and family questions related to euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The purpose of this position statement is to provide information that will describe the nurse’s ethical obligations in responding to requests for euthanasia and assisted suicide, define these terms, support the application of palliative care nursing guidelines in clinical practice, and identify recommendations for nursing practice, education, administration, and research.

Statement of ANA Position
The American Nurses Association (ANA) prohibits nurses’ participation in assisted suicide and euthanasia because these acts are in direct violation of Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements (ANA, 2001; herein referred to as The Code), the ethical traditions and goals of the profession, and its covenant with society. Nurses have an obligation to provide humane, comprehensive, and compassionate care that respects the rights of patients but upholds the standards of the profession in the presence of chronic, debilitating illness and at end-of-life.

 Full pOSITION STATEMENT 

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