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About the Center

In September 1990, the Center for Ethics and Human Rights was established with the following guiding objectives:

  • Promulgate in collaboration with ANA constituents, a body of knowledge, both theoretical and practical, designed to address issues in ethics and human rights at the state, national and international level;
  • Develop and disseminate information about and advocate for public policy to assure that ethics and human rights are addressed in health care; and
  • Assure that short and long-range objectives regarding ethics and human rights will be addressed within the Association, and expressed to appropriate bodies external to the Association.

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The Center continues to advance these originating goals and has become respected as an authority within the nursing community. The Center remains responsive to the changing realities within health care and the nursing profession and is committed to addressing professional, ethical and human rights challenges and ultimately to improving the quality of care rendered to patients and their families. Please direct questions and/or comments about The Center for Ethics and Human Rights to:

The American Nurses Association Center for Ethics & Human Rights

8515 Georgia Avenue
Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910 
(301) 628-5000 
E-mail: ethics@ana.org

The Center's Staff

Liz Stokes

JD, MA, RN

Director

Liz Stokes is the Director of the American Nurses Association Center for Ethics and Human Rights and demonstrates expertise in writing public policy on ethical issues including medical marijuana, assisted death, intellectual disabilities, and women's reproductive health.

She completed her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at the University of Virginia and worked several years as a critical care nurse focusing on end-of-life care issues. Liz received her Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond and worked as a Discipline Consultant for the District of Columbia Board of Nursing interpreting and conferring professional ethical provisions in nursing. Her expertise and leadership is also demonstrated through various charitable roles in the health and legal communities.

She is a member of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity and currently serves on the board of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities Nurse Affinity Group. Her areas of expertise include bioethics, nursing ethics and substance use disorder in nursing. She is an international speaker on the Code of Ethics for Nurses is published in the Journal of Nursing Regulation and the Journal for Nurse Practitioners. Liz also serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry.

She is an active volunteer with the District of Columbia Bar Association and has received national recognition for her pro bono efforts. Liz's sphere of influence as a nurse-attorney combined with her education in bioethics enables a unique contribution to nursing ethics, law and policy.

Advisory Board

The Center for Ethics and Human Rights Advisory Board is a deliberative body of experts who focus on providing guidance to the Center concerning issues of current ethical concern to nursing practice, education, research, administration, and other matters of concern relating to the Center's mission and goals. The Board recommends policy about issues of concern in Ethics and Human Rights to the ANA Board of Directors.

Advisory Board Members

Kathryn Schroeter

PhD, MA-Bioethics, MS, RN, CNOR, CNE, FAORN

Board Chairperson

Term of Appointment 2021-2024

Dr. Kathryn Schroeter is an Associate Professor at Marquette University College of Nursing in Milwaukee, WI where she teaches graduate courses including Ethics, Policy and Health Care Advocacy.  At the Medical College of Wisconsin, she is an adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities where she practices clinical ethics and serves on both the organizational Ethics Committee and the Institutional Review Board.  At Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee she is a Nurse Scientist/Clinical Ethicist.

She served as a member of the ANA Code of Ethics Revision Steering committee and is a contributing author of the 2015 ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses.  She also served as the Code of Ethics liaison for the ANA workgroup charged with the 2015 revision of the ANA publication - Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice. Her clinical practice area is perioperative nursing and she recently completed an appointment as the chair of the AORN Ethics Committee to write explications of the ANA Code of Ethics for application to perioperative nursing practice.

Jennifer Bartlett

PhD, RN-BC, CNE, CHSE

Term of Appointment 2021-2024

Dr. Jennifer L. Bartlett, an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University, earned her PhD in Nursing ̶ with a focus in Nursing Education ̶ from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Bartlett has a background in intensive care nursing and has been a nurse educator since 1999. She currently teaches medical-surgical nursing and pathophysiology-pharmacology at the undergraduate level, as well as ethics at the graduate level. Dr. Bartlett is third author on the 9th edition of the Fundamentals of Nursing: The Art and Science of Person-Centered Care textbook. Her expertise in nursing education, curriculum development, and assessment and evaluation informs her work in nursing education.

Dr. Bartlett completed a formal two-year ethics consultation training program at Bon Secours Virginia. She has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on nursing ethics and participates in the annual National Nursing Ethics Conference (NNEC) as a planning committee member.  She served as a member of the Ethics Education subcommittee 2016-2018 and will be chairing that subcommittee in 2019.  Dr. Bartlett has a global perspective she gained through her experience as a simulation consultant in the Middle East (Oman), where she developed simulation training tailored to meet the needs of that faculty.  Dr. Bartlett is a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) with extensive experience in the development, implementation, and evaluation of simulation across the nursing continuum. 

Teri Chenot

EdD, MS, MEd, MSN, RN, CCE, FAAN

Term of Appointment: 2021-2024

Dr. Teri Chenot is an Associate Professor at the Keigwin School of Nursing at Jacksonville University and has been a full-time faculty member since 2010. She serves as the Co-Director of the QSEN Institute Regional Center at Jacksonville University. She received her ASN degree from Broward State College. She received her BHS and BSN degrees from Florida Atlantic University. Her graduate education includes an MSN from Florida Atlantic University, an M.Ed. from the University of North Florida (UNF), and an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Thomas University. She received her Ed.D. In Educational Leadership with a cognate in Adult Learning and Patient Safety from UNF. Her three primary areas of research interest include patient safety, quality, and health outcomes.

Dr. Chenot’s clinical nursing background is in women’s, children’s, and community health. She has served in various healthcare leadership positions that included as a Patient Safety Officer at an academic medical center; as a nurse leader for two women’s centers; and as a Nursing Program Specialist for a CDC federal grant for a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. She has worked in clinics, hospitals, and academic settings.

Dr. Chenot was the Co-Investigator of A Statewide Initiative Integrating Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Through Academic/Clinical Partnerships to Improve Health Outcomes which was a $45,000 three-year Florida Blue Foundation grant – funded January 2014 – December 2016.  

Dr. Chenot serves on the QSEN Institute Board of Directors. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, Florida Association for Healthcare Quality, Florida Nurses Association (former board member), Florida Organization of Nurse Executives (former board member), National Academies of Practice, National Association for Healthcare Quality, Northeast Florida Association for Healthcare Quality (former president), Northeast Florida Organization of Nurse Executives, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and the Southern Nursing Research Society. She is a manuscript reviewer for Nursing Economic$.

Kara Curry

BSN, RN

Term of Appointment 2021-2024 (1st alternate)

Kara Curry is a new member of the Ethics Advisory Board serving as an alternate member.  She earned a BA in Spanish from High Point University and then went on to attend Duke University’s accelerated BSN program graduating in 2012.  Her clinical practice experience includes surgical oncology, forensic nursing, perioperative nursing, and travel medicine.  After spending years at the bedside, her participation as an inaugural member of a hospital-wide nurse ethics committee led to her interests in healthcare ethics.  She is currently pursuing her Masters in Bioethics from Loyola University Chicago.  As a part of an independent study course in the summer of 2020, she served as an intern for ANA’s Center for Ethics. 

Her ethical interests are in advanced care planning within the black community as well as exploring intersectionality and the role it plays in the health outcomes of black women. 

Heather Fitzgerald

MS, RN

Term of Appointment 2019-2022

Heather Fitzgerald is a clinical nurse ethicist at Children’s Hospital Colorado. In this role, she provides ethics education, consultation and policy review and development in clinical settings throughout the hospital. Heather co-chairs the Ethics Committee and chairs the Ethics Liaisons Committee at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Her clinical background is in the neonatal intensive care unit, where she frequently encountered ethical issues in the care of patients and families. Participation in both unit-based and hospital-wide ethics committees led to a Master of Science in Healthcare Ethics. Heather is currently pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Ethics.  Prior to her nursing career, Heather produced theatre for 17 years.  Her background in both the humanities and the sciences supports her well in her role.

Nelda Godfrey

PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN

Professor and Associate Dean, Innovative Partnerships and Practice

Term of Appointment 2019-2022

Nelda Godfrey, PhD, ACNS-BC, FAAN, is currently Professor and Associate Dean for Innovative Partnerships and Practice at the University of Kansas School of Nursing.  She has a long history of involvement with ethics, including serving for more than 10 years as a public member of two health system ethics committees. She has taught ethics courses in nursing and in liberal studies, and helped create a liberal arts capstone course entitled “Birth by any Means:  The Ethics of Reproductive Technologies.” 

Dr. Godfrey and colleague Nancy Crigger co-authored the book, “The Making of Nurse Professionals: A Transformational, Ethical Perspective” as a response to the Carnegie Foundation study on Preparing the Professions. Since that time, Dr. Godfrey and her colleagues have been developing a nursing perspective of professional identity formation and expanding the view within nursing to include formation as an important education, practice and policy consideration.

A recent contributor to American Nurse Today, Dr. Godfrey has written widely on ethics, nursing leadership, professional identity and innovative organizational approaches to nursing education.  Her BSN and PhD are from the University of Missouri and her MSN is from the University of Kansas.  She is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Care.

Danisha Jenkins

PhD(c), MSN, RN, CCRN, NEA-BC

Term of Appointment 2021-2024

Danisha Jenkins is a Director of Critical Care and Emergency Services, and is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Irvine where she studies biopolitical forces in nursing and the implications of nurses as arms of law enforcement.

Cynda Rushton

PhD, RN, FAAN

Term of Appointment 2021-2024 (2nd alternate)

Dr. Cynda Hylton. Rushton is the Anne and George L. Bunting Professor of Clinical Ethics at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the School of Nursing, and co-chairs the Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Ethics Committee and Consultation Service.  In 2016, she co-led a national collaborative State of the Science Initiative: Transforming Moral Distress into Moral Resilience in Nursing and co-chaired the American Nurses Association professional issues panel that created A Call to Action: Exploring Moral Resilience Toward a Culture of Ethical Practice. She was a member of the National Academies of Medicine, Science and Engineering Committee that produced the report: Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well-being. She is the editor and author of Moral Resilience: Transforming Moral Suffering in Healthcare. She is a Hastings Center Fellow and Chair of the Hastings Center Fellows Council and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Stacy Smith

MA, MLS, BSN, RN, CHPPN, HEC-C

Term of Appointment 2021-2024

Stacy Smith is the Senior Director for Integrated Ethics and Conflict Transformation at Children’s Health in Dallas, Texas. In this role, she leads the Resilience, Integrated Ethics, Staff Support, and Engagement Programs, known collectively as the RISE Programs, at Children’s Health. Stacy Co-Chairs the Institutional Ethics Committee and leads the Children’s Health Ethics Consultation Service. Stacy earned her BSN from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Stacy’s clinical nursing background is in pediatrics, primarily pediatric palliative care and hospice. Her work in this area sparked an interest in bioethics and supporting team members experiencing moral distress.  She completed a Masters of Liberal Studies in Bioethics at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and developed a moral distress consultation program within her institution. Stacy also obtained a Masters in Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management from SMU.

Stacy completed the certificate program in Pediatric Bioethics from the Children’s Mercy Center for Pediatric Bioethics in 2017 and has served as adjunct faculty for that program since. Stacy also holds a graduate certificate in Healthcare Collaboration and Conflict Engagement from SMU. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. Stacy is a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Pediatric Nurse (CHPPN) and a Healthcare Ethics Consultant – Certified (HEC-C). She joined the Ethics Advisory Board in 2021.

Elizabeth Swanson

DNP, MPH, APRN-BC

Term of Appointment 2019-2022

Dr. Elizabeth O’Connor Swanson has been a member of the Ethics Advisory Board since 2014.   Dr. Swanson earned her BSN from Baylor University, Master’s degrees in Nursing and in Public Health from Emory University and a Post Master’s Certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Intervention from Arizona State University.  Her Doctor of Nursing Practice was completed at the Medical University of South Carolina with concentrations in Nursing Education and Primary Care.   Dr. Swanson is a board certified Clinical Nurse Specialist in Public Health and a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner.    Her clinical practice area is correctional nursing and she is a member of the ANA Scope and Standards for Correctional Nursing Revision Work Group.  Dr. Swanson also served as a member of the ANA Code of Ethics Revision Steering Committee and is a contributing author of the 2015 ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses. 

Dr. Swanson is a member of ANA, South Carolina Nurses Association, Academy of Correctional Health Professionals, Association of Community Health Nursing Educators, and Sigma Theta Tau.

Ian Wolfe

PhD, MA, RN, CCRN, HEC-C

Term of Appointment 2021-2024

Dr. Ian D. Wolfe, staff clinical ethicist at Children’s Minnesota and adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics, earned his PhD in Nursing-with a focus in bioethics, and his MA in Bioethics-with a minor in Public Health and focus on health equity- from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Wolfe has a clinical background in burn, trauma, and pediatric critical care nursing. Dr. Wolfe completed a post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric bioethics at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Dr. Wolfe has authored a broad range of journal articles that support his main interest which is how social, political, and cultural systems issues affect clinical ethics and care at the bedside.

Dr. Wolfe is the current chair of the Pediatric Ethics Affinity Group at the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. He has chaired and participated in other volunteer activities with state and national nursing organizations such as the American Association of Critical-care Nurses, and Society for Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Wolfe’s current areas of research focus on preventative and integrated ethics, parent-clinician interactions, and the relationship of hospitals to the community.

Code of Ethics for Nurses With Interpretive Statements

(View Only for Members and Non-Members)

Activities

Consultation and Clearinghouse

Constituent Member Associations (CMAs), individual nurses, nurse administrators, educators, journal editors, lawyers, physicians, human rights organizations and other health professionals frequently contact the Center. Issues of interest include the creation and participation in ethics committees at the institutional and state level, clarification of ANA position statements, policies and guidelines of the Code for Nurses With Interpretive Statements.

The Center regularly receives calls from nurses seeking advice on specific cases, references, citations and summaries of current literature. Information and guidance related to the implementation of the Patient Self-Determination Act (PSDA), advance directives and development of ethics courses and programs are often sought. ANA Organizational Units receive consultation, dissemination of pertinent information on an ongoing basis, as well as, assistance in ensuring that ethical and human rights issues are addressed throughout the organization.

Policy Development

End-of-Life Issues

The former Task Force on the Nurse's Role in End-of-Life Decisions developed position statements on assisted suicide and active euthanasia which were approved by the ANA Board of Directors in December 1994. The Center continues its work on end-of-life issues through activities with the Robert Wood Johnson funded programs such as the Last Acts Campaign. We have participated in curriculum development and teaching activities for the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) offered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the City of Hope Medical Center. We are a member of Nursing Leadership Academy in End-of-Life Care created by the Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing and supported by the SOROS Foundation. Joan Laurie, a member of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, is coordinating a series of articles that will appear in the American Nurses (TAN). Contact the Center for more information.

See Ethics and Human Rights position statements

Genetic Advances

In the mid 1990s, the Center developed a publication, through a grant program funded by the National Institutes of Health, entitled"Managing Genetic Information: Policies for U.S. Nurses." This publication provides guidance to nurses as they confront the challenges related to handling increasing amounts of genetic information. The Center has applied (in collaboration with other organizations) for additional NIH funding to develop genetics education programs for health professionals.

Through the Center, the ANA along with the American Medical Association and the National Human Genome Research Institute created the National Coalition for Health Professional Education in Genetics. This coalition aims to provide an organized, systematic and national approach to the provision of genetics education for all health care professionals. The Coalition is comprised of leaders from approximately 100 diverse health care professional organizations, consumer and voluntary groups, government agencies, private industry, managed care organizations and genetic professional societies.

Health Care Issues

Using Nursing's Agenda for Health Care Reform as a basis, the Center is tracking the human rights and ethics issues in health care initiatives (e.g. organizational ethics, confidentiality, and privacy, managed care, changing provider mix, health services, for undocumented persons) and the impact on the profession of nursing.

Education and Outreach

The Center maintains contact with the 54 Constituent Member Associations (CMAs) to provide an opportunity for identification and discussion of priority issues within the states and exploration and development of professional and ethical nursing practice. On-site consultation and presentations are provided to CMAs and other organizations such as the Oncology Nursing Society, the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of Practical and Professional Ethics, and the Association of Law, Medicine and Ethics.

The Center has established liaisons with national bioethics centers and human rights organizations. It has participated in developing and conducting seminars and ethics courses for nursing programs.

The Center promotes dissemination of information on issues of ethics and human rights through the website and its newsletter Issues Update and other articles produced by the Center.

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