Jurchak Honored with Health Care Champion Award
Known throughout the hospital as “the voice of clinical ethics,” Martha Jurchak, PhD, RN, has an exquisite ability to facilitate an ethical discussion among care providers, patients and families and to create a mutually respectful, compassionate, safe place for everyone’s voice to be heard.
Jurchak, the executive director of the BWH Ethics Service, was honored for her contributions to clinical ethics by the Boston Business Journal this summer. The publication recognized her with a Health Care Champion Award in the Nurse category.
Jurchak was in good company at BWH, where three others were also honored: Jo Shapiro, MD, in the Administrator category; Jeffrey Karp, PhD, in the Innovator category; and John Wright, MD, in the Physician category.
The annual awards honor leading health care professionals who are making major contributions to health care in Massachusetts.
In a nomination submitted on Jurchak’s behalf, her colleagues described her work in bringing people together – even when perplexity is great and emotions run high. Jurchak’s efforts in opening up dialogue among all members of the care team through ethics consults and ethics rounds ultimately ensure better care to patients and their families.
In addition to providing ethics consults and leading unit-based ethics rounds, Jurchak has created several successful programs to provide nurses at BWH with a way to express their ethical concerns and moral perspectives – even when they differ from the views of others. This past year, for example, she worked in partnership with colleagues Ellen Robinson, PhD, RN, at Massachusetts General Hospital and Pam Grace, PhD, RN, at Boston College to create the first clinical ethics residency for nurses program. The goal was to develop and strengthen the leadership skills of nurses in facilitating ethical discussions across the organization.
Karen Legere, RN, nurse in-charge in Oncology and Palliative Care, was one of the five BWH nurses who participated in the seven-month program. “This program really enabled me to separate my own values and emotions and look more objectively at the facts of a situation,” she said. “Martha is very skilled in teaching us how to articulate our thoughts in a complex situation.”
Award recipients were honored at a breakfast in August.
Jurchak’s nomination included input from her colleagues including Mary Pennington, MSN, RN, CCRN, director of the Critical Care Nurse Intern Program; Shaun Golden, BSN, RN, nursing director of the Neuroscience ICU; Marianne Cummings, MSN, RN, director of the NICU; and Karen Legere, BSN, RN, OCN, a nurse in-charge in Oncology and Palliative Care.