Johns Hopkins Creates Groundbreaking Joint Professorship in Nursing and Bioethics

Released: 10/11/2012 3:50 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
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Newswise — Since the time of Hippocrates, medical professionals have grappled not only with their patients’ health problems, but the inevitable ethical issues that arise. To continue improving the quality and ethical delivery of patient care, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics have jointly established the Anne and George L. Bunting Professorship in Clinical Ethics, a unique professorship combining bioethics and the nursing profession.

Following a nationwide search, Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been named the inaugural Bunting Professor.

“We are at a critical juncture in healthcare; the ethical issues that impact patients, their families and clinicians must become part of the national dialogue in order to illuminate ethically sound solutions and cultivate environments where integrity is preserved,” Rushton explains. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have this rare opportunity to engage and explore the ethical foundations of nursing in a new and strategic way.”

The professorship is part of the Berman Institute’s core faculty and will work collaboratively with faculty and students of both institutions to identify, analyze and attempt to resolve the ethical dilemmas that arise in caring for patients and their families.

A long-time member of the Berman Institute’s advisory board and philanthropic supporter of the university, George L. Bunting has been integral to the institute’s growth into one of the world’s largest and most respected centers of bioethics. This professorship brings the Berman Institute closer to its goal of an endowed, joint professorship in each of the four schools with which it has formal ties.

“This generous gift from the Bunting family is an exceptional opportunity for Johns Hopkins University to establish a leadership role in nursing and clinical ethics, both nationally and globally,” says Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH, director of the Berman Institute.

First proposed a decade ago, the professorship represents years of dedication, perseverance and collaboration between Bunting, Faden and School of Nursing Dean Martha Hill, PhD, RN, FAAN.

Hill notes, “This joint, endowed professorship highlights the increasingly important interprofessional role of nursing and bioethics. Dr. Rushton brings to the professorship the expert nursing perspective that is essential to today’s bioethics scholarship and debate and will be required in shaping tomorrow’s healthcare policies.”

“The Berman Institute is absolutely committed to approaching the ethical challenges of clinical practice from an interdisciplinary perspective, and no health professionals are more experienced than nurses in confronting these challenges,” says Faden. “The Bunting Professorship is an important addition to our institute, and we are thrilled to have Dr. Rushton, already a valuable member of our faculty, as the inaugural Bunting Professor.”

The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing is a global leader in nursing research, education and scholarship. The School and its baccalaureate, master’s, PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs are recognized for excellence in educating nurses who set the highest standards for patient care and become innovative national and international leaders. Among U.S. nursing schools, the Hopkins Nursing graduate programs are ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report.

One of the largest centers of its kind in the world, the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics is the home for collaborative scholarship and teaching on the ethics of clinical practice, public health and biomedical science at The Johns Hopkins University. Since 1995, the institute has worked with governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations and private sector organizations to address and resolve ethical issues. Institute faculty members represent such disciplines as medicine, nursing, law, philosophy, public health and the social sciences.
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