A National Nursing Ethics Summit, the first of its kind, was convened by the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and the Berman Institute of Bioethics on August 13-15. Approximately 50 nurse ethicists, professional nursing organization leaders and key stakeholders gathered to define a blueprint for nursing ethics in the United States for the 21st century.

Today, nurses experience complex ethical dilemmas due to a changing healthcare environment: the desires of the family don’t match the desires of the healthcare staff, inadequate communication about end-of-life care, a lack of resources, a shortage of nurses, maintaining privacy, recruitment and sustainability of the nursing workforce, justice and access to care, quality and safety, and more.

“It is so clear that the time is now,” says Cynda H. Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, an organizer of the summit and Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics at the Berman Institute and Hopkins School of Nursing. “This is the first time nurse ethicists and key nursing organizations have come together to focus on the ethical foundations of our profession and the contemporary ethical issues faced by nurses,” says Rushton. “It was a catalyst for the creation of a road map of nursing ethics that aims to reconnect nurses to their ethical values and leverage them to inform a broader dialogue about a flawed healthcare system in need of values-driven, person-centered solutions.”
The summit’s strategic partners: American Academy of Nursing, American Nurses Association, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, American Organization of Nurse Executives, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, International Care Ethics Observatory, National Institute of Nursing Research, National League for Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Collaborating Partners: American Association of Colleges of Nursing, National Council of State Boards of Nursing, National Student Nurses’ Association, Oncology Nursing Society, The Hastings Center, and Center for Practical Bioethics.

With help from the strategic partners, the group will disseminate findings through multimedia approaches and work collaboratively to establish a network of change-agents to champion and implement the steps leading to an improved nursing ethics environment.
As part of the summit, a series of videos was produced featuring front line nurses describing ethical situations and challenges. The first of the series can be accessed here: Nursing Ethics Summit Video “What Keeps Nurses Up at Night”.

More information on the summit discussion:

Nursing Ethics Summit website
#NursingEthics Twitter Chats
Nursing Ethics Blogs


The Johns Hopkins 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. For more information, visit http://nursing.jhu.edu.

One of the largest bioethics centers 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 Johns Hopkins University. Since 1995, the Institute has worked with governmental agencies, nongovernmental and private sector organizations to address and resolve ethical issues. Institute faculty members represent diverse disciplines including medicine, nursing, law, philosophy, public health and the social sciences. More information is available at www.bioethicsinstitute.org.

For media inquiries:

Danielle Kress at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing: 410-955-2840, [email protected]
Leah Ramsay at the Berman Institute: 202-642-9640, [email protected]