ANA Position Statement

The Ethical Responsibility to Manage Pain and the Suffering it Causes

Liz Stokes, JD, MA, RN


Online J Issues Nurs. 2019;24(1) 

In This Article


Nurses have an ethical responsibility to relieve pain and the suffering it causes. The national response to the opioid crisis poses constraints for nurses in every role and practice setting. Recognizing biases, preventing moral disengagement, creating ethical practice environments, and addressing financial inequities are tactics for minimizing constraints and approaching better relief of pain and suffering. In concert with other organizations and associations, nursing will collaborate to provide excellent patient care through research, policy, and education. Guidance from the Code supports these and many other activities in order to meet the desired ends articulated in this position.