It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Dr. Catherine Murphy died on December 30, 2023. She was a leading scholar in nursing ethics and a major contributor to the original American Nurses Association (ANA) Code of Nursing Ethics.
During Catherine’s tenure at Boston College (1981-1999), she was an Associate Professor and served as Director of the Graduate Nursing Program (1981-1985), Project Director of Special Projects “DHHS Training and Research Grant of Diagnostic and Ethical Reasoning” (1985-1989), Acting Dean of Boston College, Connell School of Nursing (1990-1991), and a core contributor to the development and implementation of the PhD in Nursing Program at Boston College.
Throughout her career, Catherine was the recipient of many awards and honors, including a distinguished Ethics Award from Creighton University. She was also inducted into the Columbia University Teachers College Hall of Fame (1996). Catherine wrote the seminal textbook with Howard Hunter (1983) on Ethical problems in the Nurse-Patient Relationship and served as an expert legal witness on legal cases and an ethics consultant on ethics committees and grants.
Catherine was inducted as a Fellow of NANDA International in 2018.
For those of us lucky enough to have had Catherine as a faculty member, we can not forget her focus on the question, “To whom is the nurse accountable?” as we considered the ethical dilemmas common in everyday practice. Indeed, Catherine often suggested that nurses were often best positioned to help patients in making decisions about complex treatments as they were often most knowledgeable about the patient’s life goals, preferences, and values.
Our thoughts are with Catherine’s family in this difficult time. A memorial service is planned for February 3rd in West Warwick, RI.