Joan Liaschenko, PhD, RN, HEC-C, FAAN

Faculty Emeriti

Joan Liaschenko

United States

Joan Liaschenko is a Professor in the School of Nursing, and Professor and Director of the Ethics Consult Service for the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview. She graduated from Misericordia Hospital School of Nursing in Philadelphia. She obtained a BS from Hahnemann University, an MA from Bryn Mawr College, an MS, PhD, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. She joined the University of Minnesota Faculty in January of 2001.

In the School of Nursing, she teaches ethics to masters and doctoral students.
In the Center for Bioethics, she has taught courses on ‘Foundations of Bioethics,’ ‘Dying in Contemporary Medical Culture,’ ‘Morality and Risk,’ ‘Animal Ethics,’ ‘The Social Construction of Health and Illness,’ and ‘Stories of Illness.’ Both her research and teaching are largely informed by feminist scholarship. Her major research interests are clinical ethics, end-of-life care, the morality of professional health care work, and feminist ethics. She also worked on the Minnesota Pandemic Ethics Project.

She has been a visiting scholar in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Germany. 


Awards & Recognition


  • Visiting Scholar, Department of Political Science, University of Hannover, Germany, 2006
  • Visiting Scholar, School of Nursing, Dokuz Eylül University, IZMIR, Turkey, 2005
  • American Academy of Nursing, 2004-present
  • Visiting Scholar, Department of Medical Deontology, University of Ankara, Turkey, 2004
  • E. Louise Grant Award for Excellence in Nursing, University of Minnesota, 2004
  • Mary Boynton Distinguished Lecture, School of Nursing, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2004
  • Visiting Scholar, Nursing Dept., College of Medical Technology, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, 2003
  • Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Nursing, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, 2001
  • Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2001
  • Henry R. Luce Lectureship in Nursing Ethics, Boston College and VNA of Boston, 1999
  • New Investigator Award, School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, 1998
  • Sigma Theta Tau, 1993


Professional Associations

Academic Positions:

Professor, 2006, School of Nursing, Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Associate Professor, 2001-2006, School of Nursing, Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Adjunct Associate Professor, 2002-Present, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Associate, 2001-Present, International Centre for Nursing Ethics, University of Surrey, Surrey, England

Adjunct Associate Professor, 2000-Present, Faculty of Nursing, University of Ca



Postdoctoral Fellowship, Nursing Ethics, University of California, San Francisco,1994-1996

PhD, Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, 1993

MA, Human Development, Bryn Mawr College, 1985

MS, Psychiatric Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, 1989

BS, Mental Health, Hahnemann University, 1974

RN, Misericordia Hospital School of Nursing, 1970

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Research Summary/Interests

Dr. Liaschenko's research focuses on the morality of nursing work and bioethics. She uses feminist theory, narrative theory, geographical concepts, and qualitative methods to study nursing work. Specifically, she is interested in how nursing work shapes nurses' moral concerns, the language they use to articulate them, and how they seek to resolve them. She has studied home care nurses, in-patient psychiatric nurses, and nurses who run biomedical clinical trials, and ICU nurses. Her approach yields rich insights into the complexities of clinical work with relevance for interdisciplinary collaboration in clinical work and ethics. These insights highlight the limitations of the dominant model of bioethics. She has recently published in the areas of health disparities and pandemic planning, concepts of space and how they structure ICU care practices, and the ethics of clinical trials.


Selected Publications:

  • Needle, J.S., Liaschenko, J., Peden-McAlpine, C., & Boss, R. (2021). Stopping the Momentum of Clinical Cascades in the PICU: Intentional Responses to the Limits of Medicine. Journal of Palliative Care, 36(1), 12-16.
  • Peter, E., & Liaschenko, J. (2020). An Evolution of Feminist Thought in Nursing Ethics. In Nursing Ethics: Feminist Perspectives (pp. 23-34). Springer, Cham.
  • Epstein, E. G., Haizlip, J., Liaschenko, J., Zhao, D., Bennett, R., & Marshall, M. F. (2020). Moral distress, mattering, and secondary traumatic stress in provider burnout: A call for moral community. AACN Advanced Critical Care, 31(2), 146-157.
  • Needle, J.S., Peden-McAlpine, C., Liaschenko, J., Koschmann, K., Sanders, N., Smith, A., & Lyon, M.E. (2020). “Can you tell me why you made that choice?”: A qualitative study of the influences on treatment decisions in advance care planning among adolescents and young adults undergoing bone marrow transplant. Palliative Medicine, 34(3), 281-290.
  • Needle, J. S., Peden-McAlpine, C., & Liaschenko, J. (2019). Physicians' Perspectives on Adolescent and Young Adult Advance Care Planning The Fallacy of Informed Decision Making. The Journal of Clinical Ethics, 30(2), 131-142.
  • Scheiner, N., & Liaschenko, J. (2018). “Buying-In” and “Cashing-Out”: Patients' Experience and the Refusal of Life-Prolonging Treatment. The Journal of Clinical Ethics, 29(1), 15-19.
  • Freitag, L., & Liaschenko, J. (2017). Holding Ashley (X): Bestowing Identity through Caregiving in Profound Intellectual Disability. The Journal of Clinical Ethics, 28(3), 189-196.
  • Liaschenko, J., Peter, E. (2016). Fostering Nurses' Moral Agency and Moral Identity: The Importance of Moral Community. Hastings Center Report, 46(5), S18-S21, 2-5.
  • Peter, E., Simmonds, A., & Liaschenko, J. (2016). Nurses’ narratives of moral identity Making a difference and reciprocal holding. Nursing Ethics, 0969733016648206.
  • Traudt, T., Liaschenko, J., & Peden-McAlpine, C. (2016). Moral Agency, Moral Imagination, and Moral Community: Antidotes to Moral Distress. The Journal of Clinical Ethics, 27(3), 201.
  • DeRuiter, H-P., Liaschenko, J., Angus, J. (2016). Problems with the Electronic Health Record. Nursing Philosophy, 17, 46-58. (first published online, November 2015, doi 10.1111/nup.12112.
  • Peden-McAlpine, C., Liaschenko, J., Traudt, T., Gilmore-Szott, E. (2015). Constructing the Story: How Nurses Work with Families Regarding Withdrawal of Aggressive Treatment in ICU – A Narrative Study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52, 1146-1156.
  • Peter, E., & Liaschenko, J. (2013). Moral Distress Reexamined: A Feminist Interpretation of Nurses’ Identities, Relationships, and Responsibilities. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 10(3), 337-345.
  • DeBruin, D.A., Liaschenko, J., Marshall, M.F. (2012). Social justice in pandemic preparedness. American Journal of Public Health, 102(4), 586-591 doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300483.
  • DeBruin, D.A., Liaschenko, J., Fisher, A. (2011). How clinical trials really work: Rethinking research ethics. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 21(2), 121-139.
  • Liaschenko, J., Peden-McAlpine, C., and Andrews, G. (2011). Institutional Geographies in Dying: Nurses’ Actions and Observations on Dying Spaces Inside and Outside Intensive Care Units Health and Place, 17, 814-821.
  • Liaschenko, J., O’Connor-Von, S., Peden-McAlpine, C. (2009). The Big Picture: Communicating with Families about End of Life Care in ICU. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 28(5), 224-231.
  • Stein-Parbury, J. & Liaschenko, J. (2007) Understanding doctor-nurse collaboration as knowledge at work. American Journal of Critical Care, 16(5), 470-477.
  • Liaschenko, J., Oguz, Y., & Brunnell, D. (2006). Critique of the ‘Tragic Case’ Method in Ethics Education. Journal of Medical Ethics, 32(11), 672-677.
  • Peter, E, Liaschenko, J. (2004). Perils of Proximity: A spatio-temporal analysis of moral distress and moral ambiguity. Nursing Inquiry, 11(4), 218-225.
  • Liaschenko, J. & Peter, E. (2004). Nursing ethics and conceptualizations of nursing: Profession, practice, work. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 46(5), 488-495.
  • Liaschenko, J. (2003). At home with illness: Moral understandings and moral geographies. Ethica, 15(2), 71-82.
  • Peter, E. and Liaschenko, J. (2003). Whose morality is it anyway? Thoughts on the work of Margaret Urban Walker. Nursing Philosophy, 4(3), 259-262.
  • Liaschenko, J. (2003). Ethics, gender, disciplines, and the social division of labor. Nursing Ethics, 10(2):161-164.  [invited commentary]
  • Liaschenko, J. & Peter, E. (2002). The voice of the home care worker in clinical ethics. HEC Forum, 14(3), 217-223.
  • Liaschenko, J. (2002). Thoughts on nursing work. JONA, 32(2), 69-70.  [invited reprint]
  • Liaschenko, J. & Underwood, S. (2001).Children in research: Fathers in cancer research - meanings and reasons for participation. Journal of Family Nursing, 7(1), 71-91.
  • Liaschenko, J. & Fisher, A. (1999). Theorizing the knowledge nurses use in the conduct of their work. Scholarly Inquiry for Nursing Practice: An International Journal, 13(1), 29-41.
  • Liaschenko, J. (1999). Can justice co-exist with the supremacy of personal values in nursing practice? Western Journal of Nursing Research, 21(1), 35-50.
  • Liaschenko, J. (1997). Ethics and the geography of the nurse-patient relationship: Spatial vulnerabilities and gendered space. Scholarly Inquiry for Nursing Practice: An International Journal, 11(1), 45-59.
  • Liaschenko, J. (1995). Ethics in the work of acting for patients. Advances in Nursing Science, 18(2), 1-12.
  • Liaschenko, J. (1995). Artificial personhood: Nursing ethics in a medical world. Nursing Ethics, 2(3), 185-196.
  • Liaschenko, J. (1994). Making a bridge: The moral work with patients we do not like. Journal of Palliative Care, 10(3), 83-89.
  • Liaschenko, J. (1994). The moral geography of home care. Advances in Nursing Science, 17(2), 16-26.
  • Liaschenko, J. (1993). Feminist ethics and cultural ethos: Revisiting a nursing debate. Advances in Nursing Science, 15(4), 71-81.
  • Davis, A., Aroskar, M., Liaschenko, J., Drought, T. (1997). Ethical Dilemmas in Nursing Practice (4th ed.). Stamford, CT: Appleton-Lange.
  • Peter, E., & Liaschenko, J. (2020). An Evolution of Feminist Thought in Nursing Ethics. In Nursing Ethics: Feminist Perspectives (pp. 23-34). Springer, Cham.
  • DeBruin D, Lyerly AD, Liaschenko J, and Marshall MF. (2016). Chasing Virtue, Enforcing Virtue: Social Justice and Conceptions of Risk in Pregnancy. In: M. Buchbinder, M. Rivkin-Fish, R. Walker, ed. Understanding Health Inequalities and Justice: Bridging Perspectives for New Conversations, pp. 160-184. University of North Carolina Press.
  • Peter, E., Liaschenko, J. (2014). Care and Society/Public Policy. In B. Jennings, B. Koenig, L. Eckenwiler (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Bioethics, Vol. 2, 4th ed., 504-512.
  • Liaschenko, J. (2008) “…to take one’s place…and the right to have one’s part matter.” In W. Pinch, A. Haddad (Eds.). Nursing ethics: legacy and vision (pp. 195-202). Washington, DC: ANA Press.
  • Liaschenko, J. and Peter, E. (2006) Feminist ethics: A way of doing ethics. In A. J. Davis, L. deRaeve, V. Tschudin (Eds.). Essentials of teaching and learning in nursing ethics: Perspectives and methods (pp. 181 – 190).  London: Elsevier.
  • Liaschenko, J. (2006). Teaching feminist ethics. In In A. J. Davis, L. deRaeve, V. Tschudin (Eds.).  Essentials of teaching and learning in nursing ethics: Perspectives and methods (pp. 203-215).  London: Elsevier.
  • Liaschenko, J. & Peter, E. (2003). Feminist ethics. In V. Tschudin (Ed.), Approaches to Ethics: Nursing Beyond Boundaries (pp. 33-43). Oxford, UK: Butterworth Heinemann.
  • Liaschenko, J. (2002). Health promotion, moral harm, and the moral aims of nursing. In L. Young & V. Hayes (Eds.), Transforming Health Promotion Practice: Concepts, Issues, and Applications (pp. 136-147). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.
  • Liaschenko, J. (2001). Nursing work, housekeeping issues, and the moral geography of home care. In D.N. Weisstub, D.C. Thomasma, S. Gauthier, & G.F. Tomossy (Eds.), Aging: Caring for our Elders (pp. 123-37). Kluwer Academic Press. Dordrecht: The Netherlands.
  • Liaschenko, J. (1998). The shift from the closed to the open body - ramifications for nursing testimony. In S.D. Edwards (Ed.), Philosophical Issues in Nursing (pp. 1-16). London: Macmillan.
  • Liaschenko, J. (1997). “Knowing the patient?” In S. Thorne and V. Hayes (Eds.), Nursing praxis: Knowledge and action (pp. 23-38). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. [peer reviewed]



Academic Interests and Focus

Nursing Ethics; The Social Construction of Health and Illness