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The American Association
of Nurse Attorneys

Forced Urinary Catheterization by Nurses for Police: “Reliable and Accepted” or “Wanton Misconduct”

  • 19 Mar 2024
  • 4:30 PM - 5:00 PM (EDT)
  • Virtual


Registration is closed

Forced Urinary Catheterization by Nurses for Police: “Reliable and Accepted” or “Wanton Misconduct”

Presented by

Etan Yeshua, JD, MSN, RN; VHC Health; Washington, DC


Emergency nurses often face ethical dilemmas in their interactions with law enforcement. One such dilemma arises when police order emergency nurses to forcibly catheterize a resisting arrestee in order to collect a urine specimen for the sole purpose of obtaining evidence of drug or alcohol use. Although the procedure is invasive and serves no medical purpose, police argue it could produce evidence to protect public health and safety by keeping dangerous drivers off the road. This presentation assesses the ethical implications of the practice for nurses through a review of clinical literature, state laws, and court cases. It concludes that the practice violates nurses’ principal ethical obligations to hold a patient’s welfare as our primary commitment and does little to promote public health and safety. Therefore, hospitals and professional nursing organizations should issue policies and position statements to clarify for nurses, judges, law enforcement officers, and legislators that internally catheterizing unwilling people for the sole purpose of obtaining urine samples as evidence for police is antithetical to the values of nursing.

Learner Objectives

  1. Understand how and why nurses are ordered to perform medically unnecessary urethral catheterization of people in police custody. 
  2. Consider the risks and benefits to the arrestee, and to public health, of forced, medically unnecessary urethral catheterization. 
  3. Evaluate the ethical implications of this practice for nurses in light of clinical literature as well as statutory and regulatory requirements.  
  4. Propose alternatives to current practices and changes to hospital, law enforcement, and judicial policies.


Etan Yeshua holds a JD from Georgetown Law and an MSN from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. He worked as an attorney and regulatory consultant in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and food industries from 2011-2018, and he taught as an adjunct professor in that field at Georgetown Law.  Since 2018, he has worked in intensive care units in the Washington, DC area - as an RN since 2021. He is a member of his hospital's ethics committee and is particularly interested in nursing ethics and end of life decision-making.

Registration Rates

  • TAANA Members: $0, free to members

  • Non-Members: $39
    Not a Member? Click here to join, then follow the instructions in the membership form to sign up for the webinar.

CLE & Nursing CE

This event is approved for CLE with the Alabama, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania state bars for live or on-demand participation. This event is approved for Nursing CE with the California Board of Nursing for live or on-demand participation. 


No refund due to cancellation. All registrants will have access to a video archive if you are unable to attend in person.

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