BIOETHICS ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT OF THE QUARTER
LISA HAMMON, RN, BSN, MA
After graduating from University of Florida’s nursing program, Lisa Hammon (MA ’12) set off on a journey that took her to many different areas of nursing including intensive care and transplantation. All of the specialties she was involved in over the years included many ethical challenges at the bedside. These experiences informed her understanding of the complexity of health care on many levels and inspired Lisa to become a leader as a patient advocate throughout her career.
Lisa was able to pursue an advanced degree when Wake Forest University launched its new Master’s program in Bioethics in 2009. She was a member of the inaugural class, attending part time while working full time, and was awarded her Master of Arts degree in Bioethics in May of 2012. When asked to reflect on her experience, Lisa noted there could hardly have been a better group of students or a faculty of more expertise and devotion to help create the Master’s program that exists today. The students were quite diverse in age, life experiences, work experience and perspectives, with a great mixture of liberal and conservative views. It made for a vigorous discussion environment memorable for its intensity, intelligent discussion and creative approaches to ethical topics. Lisa observed that everyone learned in the program, faculty and students alike.
Lisa’s work in clinical risk management and patient safety for a large tertiary academic institution was a perfect proving ground for her beliefs that ethical care of patients is consistent with successful risk management and patient safety. She was able to interject ethics into departmental & institutional discussions about management of clinical issues, and provide another dimension to the navigation of circumstances related to risk and safety.
Upon retiring from being a clinical health care provider, Lisa had the opportunity to devote more time to a long-term dream of putting practical ethics on the road in North Carolina. In September 2014, Lisa became the executive director of the Clinical Ethics Network of North Carolina (cennc.org), a collaboration of academic medical centers, local and regional hospitals, health care organizations and interested individuals that aims to provide information, resources, consultation and education to all health care providers in the state. CENNC sponsors conferences, hosts regional workshops, provides assistance with the development of policies and procedures, and assists in confronting challenging ethical dilemmas providers may encounter. CENNC’s speakers’ bureau has a wide variety of experts who are available to provide programs on topics of the member’s request. It is a young organization that seeks a broad-based membership of health care professionals to continue to support and ensure the ethical care of patients across the state.
As part of her bioethics experiences, Lisa studied the ethics of animal use in clinical research programs and how these animals are cared for while ‘in service’ to research. This dovetailed with her lifelong commitment to the ethical care of animals, to rescue programs that help save animals in abusive situations, and to reducing the number of dogs and cats euthanized in shelters. Lisa lives in a rural setting in Lewisville, NC with her patient husband John, who seems always to find a little more room in his heart when he thinks there is no more space, and an ever changing number of cats, dogs, and rescued wild creatures.
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