The NACN-USA Committee on Ethics and Spirituality offers ten (10) suggestions for Catholic nurses, whether working in a Catholic or non-Catholic health care setting.
- Know the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) and follow them.
- Be proactive. Do not automatically assume that the ERDs and your conscientious objections will be honored.
- Make clear in the job interview process that you are a Catholic nurse and that you follow the ERDs. Make sure there is an understanding that your conscience will be respected prior to accepting a job offer.
- Know the employer policies in regard to the activities in which you are asked to participate and any conscience protections.
- If you find yourself in a conflict situation, talk to your immediate supervisor.
- If you find yourself in an unresolved conflict situation in Catholic health care, inform the local diocesan bishop of the problem.
- Maintain HIPAA requirements as well as confidentiality in all communication and keep all relevant documentation.
- If you believe that you have been discriminated against on the basis of your conscience or coerced to violate your conscience, file a complaint with your agency’s Human Resources department and, if necessary, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.
- Ethicists at the National Catholic Bioethics Center may be available to offer bioethical advice.
- Seek legal advice, if necessary, for example from Alliance Defending Freedom, Thomas More Society, or Becket.
*NACN-USA gives no legal advice.