Skip Navigation

Cynda H. Rushton, PhD, MSN, RN

Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics
Cynda Rushton
View Full CV

Specialties and Expertise

  • Ethics
  • Leadership/Organizational Culture
  • Palliative Care
  • Pediatrics


Cynda Hylton Rushton, recognized as an international leader in nursing ethics, is the Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics in the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the School of Nursing. (Dr. Rushton holds a joint appointment in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics.) Dr. Rushton co-chairs the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Ethics Committee and Consultation Service. A founding member of the Berman Institute, she co-led the first National Nursing Ethics Summit, convened by the Berman Institute and School of Nursing. The 2014 Summit produced a Blueprint for 21st Century Nursing Ethics. Her current scholarship focuses on moral suffering of clinicians, moral resilience, palliative care, and designing a culture of ethical practice. In 2016, she co-led a national collaborative State of the Science Initiative: Transforming Moral Distress into Moral Resilience in Nursing and co-chaired the American Nurses Association professional issues panel that created A Call to Action: Exploring Moral Resilience Toward a Culture of Ethical Practice. Dr. Rushton is the recipient of three fellowships: a Robert Wood Johnson Nurse Executive Fellowship (2006-2009), a Kornfeld Fellowship in end-of-life, ethics, and palliative care (2000), and a Mind and Life Institute Fellowship in Contemplative Science (2013-2014). Dr. Rushton is evaluating outcomes of the Mindful Ethical Practice and Resilience Academy (MEPRA), which her team designed and implemented to build moral resilience in practicing nurses. She is author and editor of Moral Resilience: Transforming Moral Suffering in Healthcare (Oxford University Press), that aims to transform approaches to moral suffering with innovative methods of cultivating moral resilience and a culture in health care that supports ethical practice. Dr. Rushton has served on the Institute of Medicine's Committee on increasing rates of organ donation and was a consultant to its project When Children Die. She is a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine’s Committee on System Approaches to Improve Patient Care by Supporting Clinician Wellbeing.  The recipient of numerous awards, she served the first chair of the Maryland State Council on Quality Care at the End-of-Life and is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the Hastings Center.

Additional Resources

Below are selected resources. For more information, please see full CV.

  • Videos


    Harnessing Moral Resilience to Build a Culture of Ethical Practice in Nursing






  • Publications/Research

    Mitchell, M.M., Hansen, E. D.,Tseng, T-Y.,Shen, M., Rushton, C.,Smith, R. Hutton, N., Wolfe, J., Bone, L.,Keruly, J., Wissow, L., Catanzarite, Z.,Knowlton, A. (2018). “Correlates of patterns of health values of African-Americans living with HIV/AIDS: Implications for advance care planning and HIV palliative care.” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 56(1), 53-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2018.02.020

    Kaszniak, A.W., Rushton, C.H., & Halifax, J. (2018). “Leadership, morality and ethics: Developing a practical model for moral decision-making.” MindRxiv. April 17. DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/8QBY6

    Grady, C. Haddad , A.,Rushton, C. (2018). “An Alternative Account of Clinical Ethics: Leveraging the Strength of the Health Care Team.” The American Journal of Bioethics, 18:6, 59-60, DOI: 10.1080/15265161.2018.1459948

    Holtz, H., Heinze, K. Rushton, C. (2017). “Inter-professionals’ definitions of moral resilience.” Journal of Clinical Nursing Aug 3. doi: 10.1111/jocn.13989.

    Gleason, K.T., Davidson, P.M., Tanner, E.K., Baptiste, D., Rushton, C., Day, J., Sawyer, M., Baker, D., Paine, L., & Dennison-Himmelfarb, C.R. & David E. Newman-Toker ( 2017). “The Critical Role of Nurses in Diagnostic Error Prevention: A Conceptual Framework and a Call to Action.” Diagnosis. 4:201-224.

  • Media
  • Awards/Honors

    2019 Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) Daniel J. Pesut Sprit of Renewal Award

    2019 Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame

    2018 Anna Reynvaan Lectureship, Academic Medical Center of Amsterdam University and the Free University Medical Center in Amsterdam, Netherlands

    2017 Distinguished Lectureship, Minneapolis Children’s Hospital, Minneapolis, MN

    2016 Strobe Lectureship, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

    2015 Claire Bent Usen Memorial Lecture, Mount Auburn Hospital, Boston, MA

    2015 Brocher Foundation Residency, Geneva, Switzerland

    2014 Fellow, The Hastings Center, Garrison, NY

    2014 Top 100 Women in Maryland, The Daily Record, Baltimore, MD

    2014 Center for Health Care Ethics Milestone Aware for Bioethics Leadership, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

    2013 Mind and Life Institute Contemplative Studies Fellow

    2010 Top 50 Alumni, University of Kentucky, College of Nursing, 50th Anniversary, Lexington, KY

    2006-2009 Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Leadership Fellowship, Princeton, NJ

    2008 Top 100 Women in Maryland, The Daily Record, Baltimore, MD

    2007 University of Kentucky, College of Nursing, Hall of Fame Inaugural Inductee, Lexington, KY

    2007 Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing, Alumni Association, Excellence in Teaching Award: Graduate Program, Baltimore, MD

    2006 Health Care Heroes Award, Nursing, The Daily Record, Baltimore, MD

    2001 Pioneering Spirit Award, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Anaheim, CA

    1991 Greater Washington Area Chapter–American Association of Critical Care Nurses/Hewlett Packard Research Award

    1990 Fellow, American Academy of Nursing

    1990 Maternal-Child Nurse of the Year, American Nurses Association, Council on Maternal-Child Nursing, Boston, MA

    1990 National Nurse of the Year, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, Boston, MA

    1990 Outstanding Nursing Alumnus, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

    1989-1990 Mary Dance Spence Scholarship, School of Nursing, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC

    1988 Outstanding Young Woman in America, State Award Recipient for Maryland, Outstanding Americans Program, Montgomery, AL

    1986 Employee of the Month, Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children Atlanta, GA

    1986-1997 Who's Who in American Nursing, The Society of Nursing Professionals

    1983 Sigma Theta Tau, National Nursing Honor Society

    1981-1982 Professional Nurse Traineeship Award, U.S. Public Health Service