Ellen M. Robinson
Ellen M. Robinson, RN, PhD

Ellen M. Robinson is a graduate of the William F. Connell School of Nursing, Boston College, receiving her Masters in Cardiovascular Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in 1983, and her PhD in nursing with a focus on nursing ethics, in 1997. During her doctoral study, Ellen received an NINR National Research Service Award for her dissertation research, entitled ‘Surrogate Experience in Living Through End of Life Decisions for Their Loved Ones with Advanced Dementia’, and a pre-doctoral geriatric research fellowship at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, where she conducted her dissertation research with the GRECC research team, led by Dr. Ladislav Volicer and Dr. Ann Hurley. In 1997-98, Dr. Robinson completed the Harvard Medical School Division of Medical Ethics fellowship, after which she transitioned into the role of nurse ethicist at MGH.

In her role as nurse ethicist, Ellen provides ethics consultation to health professionals, patients and families at Massachusetts General Hospital. She has served on the MGH Optimum Care Committee since 1993 and as co-chair of the committee since 2007. In her role as committee co-chair, she has led the way in developing and implementing the hospital’s ‘Do No Harm’ policy, which aims to protect the patient approaching end of life from the harms of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In addition, she serves on the MGH Hospital for Children Pediatric Ethics Committee and the Harvard Medical School Division of Medical Ethics Leadership Council. In 2010, Ellen received a three year Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Nursing grant to develop and implement a Clinical Ethics Residency for Nurses, which educated and mentored practicing nurses, nurse leaders, and advance practice nurses to serve on ethics committees, facilitate ethics discussions and learn the process of ethics consultation. Dr. Robinson holds faculty appointments in the MGH Institute of Health Professions School of Nursing and in the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College. Ellen co-leads a research program with Andrew Courtwright MD PhD, which focuses on the experience and outcomes of ethics consultation at MGH. Ellen enjoys mentoring nurses and health professionals in clinical ethics, and has an interest and commitment to interprofessional team collaboration. Her community service focuses on mentorship of minority high school and college students from backgrounds of lesser advantage.

Courtwright, A. M., Abrams, J. & Robinson, E. M. (2017). The role of a hospital ethics consultation service in decision-making for unrepresented patients. Bioethical Inquiry D01 10.1007/s11673-017-97731.

Robinson, E. M., Cadge, W., Zollfrank, A., Cremens, M. C., Courtwright, A. C. (2017). After the DNR: Surrogates who persist in requesting cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Hastings Center Report 47 (1), 10-19.

Bandini, J. I., Courtwright, A. M., Zollfrank, A., Robinson, E. M. & Cadge, W. (2017). The role of religious beliefs in ethics committee consultations for conflict over life sustaining treatment. Journal of Medical Ethics 10.1136/medethics-2016-103930

Courtwright, A. C., Robinson, E. M., Feins, K., Carr-Loveland, J., Donahue, V., Roy, N. & McCannon, J. M. (2016). Ethics committee consultation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 13 (9), 1553-1558.

Robinson, E.M., Cage, W., Erler, K., Brackett, S., Bandini, J., Cist, A., Cremens, M.C., Krakauer, E.L., & Courtwright, A. (2017). Structure, operations, and experience of clinical ethics consultation 2007-2013: A report from the Massachusetts General Hospital optimum care committee. The Journal of Clinical Ethics, 28(2), 137-152.