Wilson championed improved support for medical professionals working in the field after spending six weeks on the frontlines of the Ebola crisis
VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Villanova University Ethics Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has named Deborah Wilson, RN, BSN, as the recipient of the 2016 Praxis Award in Professional Ethics. Entering its 10th year, the Praxis Award honors and celebrates the contributions of a professional or academic in the field of professional ethics. This year’s award will be presented at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 29, in the Driscoll Hall Auditorium.
“A primary purpose of the Praxis Award in Professional Ethics is to highlight the unusual commitment of particular professionals to the values of their profession. Debbie Wilson captures a key value of the nursing profession, which is to promote the health of all people,” said Mark Doorley, Ph.D. Director of the Ethics Program. “She has spoken all over the United States, championing a more responsible system of support for medical professionals who put themselves at risk to help those who most desperately need care.”
Wilson, who has been a nurse for 30 years, traveled to Liberia in 2014 to work with the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders in the fight to contain the Ebola epidemic and care for those affected by the illness. According to Wilson, the public hysteria surrounding the disease added an unnecessary level of difficulty in caring for patients. In addition, upon returning home, she and her colleagues were stigmatized and often socially ostracized due to widespread fear and misinformation regarding Ebola. Wilson has since become an outspoken advocate for the rights of medical professionals, not only when it comes to their safety in the field, but also when they return to their home countries.
“Many medical professionals, along with members of the public, were negatively affected by the stigma surrounding Ebola, which arose from of a climate of fear fueled by the media and politicians,” said Wilson. “I look forward to working with both the public and community officials to enact health crisis solutions that are based on common sense rather than fear and panic.”
The Praxis Award Committee selected Wilson for her demonstrated commitment to the highest ideals of the nursing profession, along with a demonstrated willingness to engage the public, as a professional, on the ethics of global health. As a result of her experiences in Liberia, Wilson has decided to pursue a dual Master of Science degree in Nursing and in Public Health.
“Nursing has come a long way, but as professionals we need to have many more seats at the table where health care decisions are made,” Wilson added.