Following Your Moral Code

Following Your Moral Code

Danielle Miller, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Alumna and CEO of Stars and Stripes Consulting LLC, shares her experience:

When I attended Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, I was sitting on the floor studying for an exam when my childhood best friend who was not a nursing student asked me “what are you going to do when someone asks you to kill someone?”

The room went silent, my classmates and I looked around and the general consensus was that would never happen.

Less than three months into my first job, the unthinkable did happen. An order was written that I knew in my heart would cause the patient to lose their life. Without a second thought, I followed my heart. I refused to follow that order, and the patient survived. 

That was the start of my nursing career and following the lessons I was taught about hard work, standing up for my own morals, values and beliefs in life.  

My next position was taking care of adults with cardiac and neurological diagnosis where I learned from a patient with a heart rate of thirty that just because you are taught that something is life threatening does not mean that a person cannot live their life with it.  

I transferred to a transplant and abdominal surgery unit where I had a patient who had a bowel obstruction that required intervention to manage, but the new residents and nurses wanted to delay intervention. I knew from experience that this patient needed more than just conservative management, but only experience can help you determine the difference. 

In my time as a transplant coordinator, I facilitated the first “blood-type incompatible transplant” in the history of the facility, leading to an increase in the opportunities for future patients to find a match. This milestone came in addition to the creation of the systems, policies, and procedures that implemented historic changes to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) systems.

With previous experience supporting the implementation of Epic ™ EHR, I became the senior clinical informatics application analyst and educator on Epic Systems(tm) where I developed education for all levels of staff, reports from data, as well as prioritizing and testing system changes and updates. 

My experiences led me to become a risk manager for a regionally ranked institution. I learned the ability to use data to drive decision making and accountability. I also identified high risk procedures, situations and reports by conducting investigations and ensuring leadership was aware of the findings.

I was raised to speak up for those who could not speak for themselves which has been central to all of my roles as a nurse. I provided staff a safe and secure environment to discuss concerns while working to address and resolve them.

As we look around in healthcare post-COVID, we find ourselves morally bankrupt. How we got here and what the fix is are up for discussion. However, the consensus nationwide seems to be that our morals, values and beliefs are broken. So, my question for you is what do you want for yourself? What do you stand for and how do you bring that into your career? Personally, the answer to that was to begin consulting with Stars and Stripes Consulting LLC.  I am also working to start a mentorship opportunity to pass down what has allowed me to succeed professionally while still holding myself true to my morals, values and beliefs. My desire is to have a lasting impact on the healthcare of the nation by empowering staff to practice by their moral code while allowing patients to decide the care and treatments they receive through knowledge of all treatment options. I want to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves in our healthcare system especially veterans, women’s health, transplant, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer patients. 

Click here to learn more about the programs at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

Go to to see more stories in The United States of Nursing.

Stay Up-To-Date

Get updates on the latest stories, from hot topics, to faculty research, alumni profiles, and more.

Ways to subscribe