1. Blakeney, Barbara A. MS, APRN,BC, ANP

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Mr. Agar-Newman raises significant issues that mirror concerns shared by the ANA and the broader U.S. and international nursing community. The ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements (2001), Nursing's Social Policy Statement (2003), and the ANA's position statements on Ethics and Human Rights (1991), the Nonnegotiable Nature of the ANA Code for Nurses with Interpretative Statements (1994), and the ANA's House of Delegates 1990 action on international health and human rights condemn violations concerning issues of health and human rights and guide the role of U.S. RNs in providing nursing services.


While these documents provide guidance, it's the day-to-day application of these ideals that allows nurses to confront policy-makers and governments, thereby promoting social change and speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.


Mr. Agar-Newman's letter, as well as recent pieces by Geraldine Gorman ("What If Nurses Said No to the War?"Viewpoint, January; see More Letters, page 87) and Diana Mason ("The Dogs That Did Not Bark,"Editorial, October 2004) serve to remind all nurses that we must go beyond the ongoing challenges that nurses face and speak out against all atrocities-whether the result of war, terrorism, oppression, acts of nature, or violence in our communities and our country.


The ANA continues to discuss these issues within our policy-making bodies. At the November 2004 meeting of the advisory board to the ANA Center for Ethics and Human Rights, the board discussed nursing concerns surrounding violations of human rights and in particular, the treatment of prisoners of war. As a result, two ANA position statements, Ethics and Human Rights (1991) and Risk Versus Responsibility (1994), are being revised to provide nurses with updated statements to guide practice. In addition, the ANA sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld supporting full investigation into any possible actions of health care professionals during these abuses and offering nursing expertise.


Outcomes of ANA policy decisions are reported through the ANA's Web site (, the American Nurse, and AJN.