Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 10

Submission from Theresa Lynch

  Apart from the obvious moral and ethical questions which inevitably arise in relation to abortion and the most vulnerable involved, professional issues should nonetheless be considered in relation to the future role of the nurse.

    —  The "developed role of the nurse" appears to have no limit as reflected in this proposal of surgical abortion.

    —  Nurses need to maintain and expand their expressive rather than instrumental skills (particularly those which appear to be emerging as unpopular with their medical colleagues).

    —  The nurse's role should be reflected in positivity, not by a willingness to promote a negative image in the proposed undertaking of all aspects of abortion.

    —  Surgical abortion by nurses is a dangerous responsibility which nurses can never fulfill as competent practitioners. They are not surgically-competent to deal with the inevitable, possible life-threatening complications.

    —  Nurses who are trained for years to protect, nurture and maintain life, will inevitably be pyschologically and emotionally affected by this expectation of them, knowing, as any educated nurse knows that women who undergo this procedure are psychologically and even physically burdened for years by the procedure.

  Lastly, I believe such a radical decision required consultation with more than a few selected RCN members "working in the field". Views will most probably reflect just that narrow section of the RCN membership. I believe a wider consultation is required to enable other nurses to give their view on this hugely important decision, a massive departure from the historical role of the nurse—"to do no harm".

  I look forward to the outcome with close interest.

August 2007

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