Mental Health Nursing and Conscientious Objection to Forced Pharmaceutical Intervention

Gadsby, Jonathan and Mckeown, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0235-1923 (2021) Mental Health Nursing and Conscientious Objection to Forced Pharmaceutical Intervention. Nursing Philosophy, 22 (4). ISSN 1466-7681

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This paper attempts a critical discussion of the possibilities for mental health nurses to claim a particular right of conscientious objection to their involvement in enforced pharmaceutical interventions. We nest this within a more general critique of perceived shortcomings of psychiatric services, and injustices therein. Our intention is to consider philosophical and practical complexities of making demands for this conscientious objection before arriving at a speculative appraisal of the potential this may hold for broader aspirations for a transformed or alternative mental health care system, more grounded in consent than coercion. We consider a range of ethical and practical dimensions of how to realise this right to conscientious objection. We also rely upon an abolition democracy lens to move beyond individual ethical frameworks to consider a broader politics for framing these arguments.

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