Cynda Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) and program director of Johns Hopkins Harriet Lane Compassionate Care, has been selected as a 2006 Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow. She is one of twenty nurse leaders nationwide chosen to participate in this three-year Fellowship program for nurses in senior executive roles who aspire to lead and shape the U.S. health care system of the future.
"Nurses must play a pivotal role in leading the redesign and success of health care now and into the future," said Rushton. "The Executive Nurse Fellowship is an intensive opportunity to develop critical leadership skills, work with a nationally recognized team of coaches and instructors from within the health care industry and other sectors of the economy, and benefit from collaboration with nursing and health care leaders throughout the country. I am honored and excited to be selected as a participant."
As part of the Fellowship, Rushton will have an opportunity to undertake a nursing leadership project, with funding support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and matching funds from JHUSON. She has chosen to develop a program of renewal and self care for nurses; a program that is an outgrowth of her work in ethics and palliative care and her belief that for nurses to be able to care for others, they must first learn to care for themselves. Her focus will be on pediatric palliative care providers, however she intends that the model will be replicable and predicts that the program will be easily transferable to all areas of nursing.
Throughout her career, Rushton has participated in national initiatives, delivered testimony to Congress, and collaborated with professional organizations to create better systems of pediatric palliative care and to see her vision for improving care at the end of life become a reality. Rushton was instrumental in creating the Harriet Lane Compassionate Care Program, the first pediatric palliative care program in Maryland. She has served as Program Director since 2000, working closely with other team members to create a 70-member interdisciplinary palliative care network, establish innovative educational programs, create a comprehensive bereavement program for families and health care professionals, and develop support systems for health care professionals who care for these children.