Lucia D. Wocial, RN, PhD

Lucia D. Wocial, RN, PhD photo

Nurse Ethicist, Program Leader for the Fairbanks Program in Nursing Ethics

Dr. Wocial received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN and her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Nursing from the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, OR.  She has been in clinical practice for more than 20 years.  In 2015 she was inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.  Prior to joining the Fairbanks Center in July, 2007, Dr. Wocial worked in a variety of health care organizations from small private hospitals to large academic teaching centers.  She is highly regarded as a lecturer, educator, researcher, consultant and practitioner in the field of medical ethics, particularly as it applies to the nursing profession.  Her clinical background is in neonatal intensive care.  Her current research, including development of the Moral Distress Thermometer, focuses on moral distress of professional healthcare providers.


  • Macalester College, B.A. Psychology
  • Oregon Health Sciences University, B.S. Nursing
  • Oregon Health Sciences University, M.S.
  • Oregon Health Sciences University, PhD Nursing

Representative Publications

  • Wocial LD, Hancock M, Bledsoe PD, Chamness AR, Helft PR. An evaluation of unit-based ethics conversations. JONA's Healthcare Law, Ethics, & Regulation. 2010 Apr-Jun;12(2):48-54.

  • Wocial L. Commentary: Courage is the only ethical choice. Nursing Outlook. 2009 Sep-Oct;57(5):294-5.

  • Helft PR, Bledsoe PD, Hancock M, Wocial LD. Facilitated ethics conversations: a novel program for managing moral distress in bedside nursing staff. JONA's Healthcare Law, Ethics, & Regulation. 2009 Jan-Mar;11(1):27-33.

  • Wocial LD. An Urgent Call for Ethics Education. The American Journal of Bioethics. 2008;8(4):21-3.

  • Wocial L. Moral Distress--the role of ethics consultation in the NICU. Bioethics Forum. 2002;18(1-2):15-23.

  • Wocial L. Life Support Decisions Involving Imperiled Infants. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing. 2000;14(2):73-86.

  • Wocial L. Achieving Collaboration in Ethical Decision-Making: Strategies for Nurses in Clinical Practics. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing. 1996;15(3):150-159.

  • Wocial L. The Role of Mentors in Promoting Integrity and Preventing Scientific Misconduct in Nursing Research. Journal of Professional Nursing. 1995; 11(5):276-280.

  • Wocial L. Advocacy in Action. Neonatal Network. 1992;12(5):43-48.

  • Wocial LD. Letter to the Editor: Neonatal Care for Premature Infants. Hastings Center Report. 1992;12(5):43-48.

  • Neonatal Research Makes Sense, a compendium of research abstracts accepted for presentation. National Association of Neonatal Nurses Research conferences. April 1998, Dallas, TX.

  • Life Support Decisions Involving Imperiled Infants. Poster Presentation. Annual Conference, National Association of Neonatal Nurses. September 1996, Nashville, TN

  • Everyday Miracles. A single short story in a collection published by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, September 2004.

  • Beyond Our Four Walls, co-authors Genella Mussell, RN and Becky Walkes, RN. An abstract describing the neonatal transport program and perinatal outreach activities. Poster presentation at the International Neonatal Nursing Conference, Sydney, Austrailia. November 2001.