Lucia D. Wocial, PhD, RN, FAAN

Lucia D. Wocial, PhD, RN, FAAN 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 30 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 L, Ackerman V, Leland B, Pediatric Ethics and Communication Excellence (PEACE) Rounds: Decreasing Moral Distress and Patient Length of Stay in the PICU. HEC Forum (2016). doi:10.1007/s10730-016-9313-0

  • Hamric AB and Wocial LD. Institutional Ethics Resources: Creating Moral Spaces. Hastings Cent Rep. (2016) Sep:46 Suppl 1:S22-7. doi: 10.1002/hast.627

  • Wocial, LD, Molnar, E, and Ott, MA.  (2015).  Values, Quality, and Evaluation in Ethics Consultation.  American Journal of Bioethics.  DOI:10.1080/23294515.2015.1127295

  • Wocial, L. D. and Weaver, M. T.  Evaluation of a New Tool for Measuring Moral Distress:  The Moral Distress Thermometer.  Journal of Advanced Nursing accepted April 2012.  J Adv Nurs 2012 May 20. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2012.06036.x. [Epub ahead of print]

  • 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.

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

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