Healthy World, Healthy Nation, Healthy You

The Fascinating World of a Nurse Ethicist–A Career Choice that Improves Programs for People

Mary K. Walton, MSN, MBE, RN

Nurse Ethicist and Director, Patient and Family Centered Care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA


M Walton June 2013Mary K. Walton has practiced in academic health care settings for over 35 years and has a progressive history of leadership. Roles of staff nurse, clinical nurse specialist and nurse manager included responsibility for clinical ethics committees and ethics consultation services, cultural competency training and establishing evidence-based practice standards.  Currently she is responsible for organizational initiatives focused on clinical ethics and improving the patient and family experience of care. She is a frequent guest lecturer in nursing programs and hospitals on nursing practice issues and has presented her work at national professional meetings.

Ms. Walton holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Science Degree from the University of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing and a Master of Bioethics Degree and a Certificate in Clinical Ethics Mediation from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine.  She has published in the areas of advocacy, collaboration, ethics, healthy work environment, patient-centered care and nursing history.


Nursing ethics is a branch of that concerns itself with activities in the field of . Nursing ethics shares many principles with , such as , and respect for . It can be distinguished by its emphasis on relationships, human and collaborative care. Mary Walton addresses the ways in which she works with other clinicians, families and patients directly in considering all alternatives to difficult decisions and support all the players to make decisions that fit with their values and needs.

3 Key Points:

  1. A Nurse ethicist is a person in a hospital that consumers can access when there is conflict.
  2. Ethics Consultations are available to all families facing tough choices
  3. Nurse ethicists work with care teams of professionals to solve problems and to make thoughtful choices in tough circumstances.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *