U.Va. School of Nursing Annual Bice Lecture Set for Nov. 3

October 29, 2010 — Cynda Hylton Rushton will present "Trust and Betrayal: Building Trustworthy Relationships Among the Interdisciplinary Team" at the University of Virginia School of Nursing's annual Zula Mae Baber Bice Memorial Lecture on Nov. 3.

Presented in conjunction with the U.Va. School of Medicine's Medical Center Hour, the event runs from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in McLeod Hall's Fenwick Auditorium, with a reception following. The lecture is open to the public and parking is available for a fee at the 11th Street Parking Garage (on 11th Street, just south of Main Street).

Rushton is an associate professor of nursing at Johns Hopkins University, with a joint appointment in the School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics. She is core faculty of the Berman Institute of Bioethics and co-chair of the Johns Hopkins Hospital's Ethics Consultation Service. She also serves as a clinical nurse specialist in ethics and program director for the Harriet Lane Compassionate Care Program at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Rushton's speech will deal with collaborations within the medical community.

"Trust is the cornerstone of interdisciplinary relationships, yet it is hard to gain and easily broken," she said. "Interactions among health care professionals can either be healing or break trust, cause conflict and erode quality and performance. To optimally support patients and families, health care professionals must understand their own experiences around trust and betrayal and how they impact relationships with patients and families and their colleagues."

She added, "Today, more than ever there is a need for trust within palliative care and hospice organizations."

An international leader in nursing ethics and palliative and end-of-life care, her seminal work on nurse suffering and moral distress was selected for inclusion in the U.S. Nursing Ethics History project with 25 leading nurse ethicists. She has held leadership positions in numerous nursing and interdisciplinary organizations, including the board of directors of the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics; the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, where she chaired the Ethics Work Group; and as a member of the task force on the nurses' role in end-of-life issues for the American Nurses Association.

Rushton was appointed by the governor of Maryland as the first chair of the State Council on Quality Care at the End-of-Life and served from 2002 to 2008. Her contributions have been recognized by her selection as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women in 2008, as one of the American Academy of Nursing's Edgerunners, and with the 2001 Pioneer Spirit Award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses for her work in advancing palliative care across the life span.

Currently, she is leading (with Gail Geller) an international collaboration to improve the lives of children affected by life-threatening neuromuscular diseases and a related project focused on the ethical issues faced by neuromuscular clinicians. She is also testing an intervention to reduce moral distress and burnout by cultivating resilience in nurses working in critical care, oncology and neonatal/pediatrics.

Recently, the team received a $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to extend their work in improving the lives of children with neuromuscular disorders and sickle cell disease by integrating palliative care principles into practice using an innovative educational intervention.

The Bice Lecture was established in 1968 by nursing alumni and the friends and family of Zula Mae Baber Bice, a beloved U.Va. School of Nursing faculty member and acting dean of the school from 1961 to 1962 and 1964 to 1966.

—By Dory Hulse