The Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics Program in Nursing Ethics, funded initially by the Methodist Health Foundation in partnership with Indiana University Health Nursing Administration and the Indiana University School of Nursing, is a novel collaborative program that focuses on improving the ethical lives of nurses in the context of the interdisciplinary environment in which they work. This centerpiece program assures that nursing professionals, who are in many ways the backbone of the healthcare system, receive the attention and support they need and deserve. The program coordinates service, education and research efforts in nursing ethics across the clinical and educational realms throughout IU Health hospitals. The creation of this program demonstrates FCME’s commitment to nurses and a clear vision for the critical role they play in the ethical care of patients.
Initial program efforts focused particular attention to the system’s intensive care units, where severe illness and high-tech medical care often raise important ethical questions for hospital staff, patients and families. The nurse ethicist is available to nurses practicing in any area of the IU Health System. Under the leadership of Lucia Wocial, PhD, RN the Fairbanks Program in Nursing Ethics provides staff education, consultation support and research to improve the capacity of IU Health’s nurses to manage the ethical conflict and emotional distress inherent in the care of patients in a modern, technology-driven health care system.