NACN-USA gives no legal advice.

The NACN-USA Committee on Ethics and Spirituality

The NACN-USA Committee on Ethics and Spirituality offers ten (10) suggestions for Catholic Nurses to protect their conscience, whether working in a Catholic or non-Catholic health care setting.

  1. Know the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs) and follow them.
  2. Be proactive. Do not automatically assume that the ERDs and your conscientious objections will be honored.
  3. 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.
  4. Know the employer policies in regard to the activities in which you are asked to participate and any conscience protections.
  5. If you find yourself in a conflict situation, talk to your immediate supervisor.
  6. If you find yourself in an unresolved conflict situation in Catholic health care, inform the local diocesan bishop of the problem.
  7. Maintain HIPAA requirements as well as confidentia in all communication and keep all relevant documentation.
  8. 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.
  9. Ethicists at the National Catholic Bioethics Center may be available to offer bioethical advice.
  10. Seek legal advice, if necessary, for example from Alliance Defending Freedom, Thomas More Society, or Becket.

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