In Fight Against COVID-19, Nurses Face High-Stakes Decisions

April 7, 2020

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases accelerates in the United States, nurses on the front lines of the health care response have found themselves in unprecedented positions, making high-stakes decisions for patients and their own personal lives.

“We in uncharted territory in response to the magnitude of the pandemic,” says Cynda Rushton, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Berman Institute of Bioethics known as an international leader in nursing ethics. “It’s a time of great stress and uncertainty, and nurses are rising to the challenge.”

Two weeks ago, Rushton—author and editor of Moral Resilience: Transforming Moral Suffering in Healthcare (Oxford University Press, 2018)—helped create the Frontline Nurses Wikiwisdom Forum, a virtual safe space where nurses can share their challenges and experiences during COVID-19.

“We know that nurses are the backbone of American health care, and often its heart and soul,” the site says. “The COVID-19 pandemic is testing all of us, but nurses are on the front lines. This space will be available 24/7 until America exits this crisis. Join us. Share your knowledge, experience, and challenges about working on the front lines of a pandemic. We know you are overworked, understaffed, possibly heartbroken and anxious, but always courageous. Feeling part of a community, even a virtual one, can help.”

In a wide-ranging Q&A with the JHU Hub, Professor Rushton discusses the pandemic’s impact on the nursing profession, the ethical challenges it poses, and reasons for hope among the turmoil. 

Read the full story here.