Cindy Hylton Rushton, DNSc, RN, FAAN, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, received a $200,000 grant from the Open Society Institute to develop a National Nursing Leadership Institute on End-of-Life Care. The grant aims to bring together nursing leaders from national nursing organizations to learn and implement strategies to improve end-of-life care.
"Nurses have always been in the forefront in providing end-of-life care," says Rushton. "In order to make the magnitude of change that is needed in end-of-life care in America, we need more nurse leaders who have the knowledge and skill to be effective change agents in hospitals, long term care facilities, hospices, and home settings as well as the classroom."
The grant is part of the Project on Death in America (PDIA), created by the Open Society Institute, a private operating and grantmaking foundation. The mission of the Project on Death in America is to understand and transform the culture and experience of dying and bereavement through initiatives in research, scholarship, the humanities, and the arts, and to foster innovations in the provision of care, public education, professional education, and public policy.
The Nursing Leadership Institute on End-of-Life Care is the second phase of a larger effort supported by PDIA to advance the nursing profession’s commitment and efforts to improve care at the end of life. The institute will include an intensive four-day conference, development and implementation of action plans, a support network, and an outcomes conference. Rushton will oversee approximately 50 nurse leaders from across the country as they develop action plans in partnership with their sponsoring nursing organization for improving end-of-life care.
An expert on ethical issues in clinical practice, Rushton is internationally known for her work in end-of-life issues. She is a member of the Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University, and is a clinical nurse specialist in ethics at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. She was selected in 1999 as an Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Fellow in ethics, palliative and end-of-life care.
"How we die is a deeply personal journey that no one can escape," says Rushton. "In order to provide quality care at the end of life we must radically transform the health care systems, the knowledge and skill of health care providers, and the culture surrounding death and dying in America. Nurses stand ready to join with their colleagues and the public to make this goal a reality."