ANA Position Statement

The Nurse's Role When a Patient Requests Medical Aid in Dying

Liz Stokes, JD, MA, RN


Online J Issues Nurs. 2019;24(3) 

In This Article


The purpose of this position statement is to provide guidance on ethical decision-making in response to a patient's request for medical aid in dying. This statement offers assistance with understanding nurses' ethical obligations in the context of this end-of-life option, which is legal in an increasing number of U.S. jurisdictions. This position statement recognizes that there are a plurality of views on the issue, that there is a paucity of available research on medical aid in dying. The goal of this position statement is not to frame a stance for or against medical aid in dying but rather to frame the nurse's compassionate response within the scope of practice, based on the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. This statement is intended to reflect only the opinion of ANA as an organization regarding what it believes is an ideal and ethical response based on the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements. Nothing in this statement is intended to advocate for the limitation of nurses' rights and protections under applicable laws and regulations or the violation of any laws or regulations that may conflict with or appear to conflict with this statement.