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Sarah Shannon, PhD, RN                                            

Associate Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing & Health Systems, School of Nursing
Adjunct, Bioethics & Humanities, School of Medicine
University of Washington

Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems
Box 357260
Seattle, Washington  98195-7260
Email Address:



Dr. Shannon completed her PhD in Nursing Science and Ethics at the University of Washington in 1992.

Area of Expertise: Dr. Shannon's area of scholarship has focused on improving the health care team’s communication with patients and their families around end-of-life care and disclosure of medical errors to patients.  Dr. Shannon has expertise on the ethical issues of caring for seriously-ill and dying adults including end-of-life decision-making, clinicians’ knowledge of the legal guidelines for abating life-sustaining therapy, care of families of dying ICU patients, and interdisciplinary conflict.  She currently is an investigator on two NIH funded grants focused on improving communication between health care teams and seriously-ill patients and their families and one foundation-funded study focused on integrating interprofessional skills in professional education.  Dr. Shannon is a long time member of several local hospital ethics committees. She is a regular faculty member of the annual Summer Seminar in Health Care Ethics course and a frequent local and national speaker on ethic.

Publications of Interest:

  1. Reinke LF, Shannon SE, Engelberg RA, Young JP, Curtis JR.   Supporting hope and prognostic information:  Nurses' perspectives on their role when patients have a life-limiting prognosis.  Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2010;39(6):982-9.  PMID: 20538182
  2. Kross EK, Engelberg RA, Shannon SE, Curtis JR.  Potential for response bias in family surveys about end-of-life care in the intensive care unit.  Chest 2009;136:1496-1502. PMID: 1961740
  3. Shannon SE, Foglia MB, Hardy M, Gallagher TH.  Disclosing errors to patients: perspectives of registered nurses.  Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety 2009;35(1):5-12. PMID: 19213295
  4. Hsieh HF, Shannon SE, Curtis JR.  Contradictions and communication strategies during end-of-life decision-making in the ICU.  Journal of Critical Care, 2006:21(4):294-304. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2006.06.003 
  5. Shannon SE.  Damage compounded or damage lessened? Disparate impact or the compromises of multiculturalism?  American Journal of Bioethics, 2006;6(5):27-28. PMID: 16997818
  6. Curtis JR, Engelberg RA, Wenrich MD, Shannon SE, Treece PD, Rubenfeld GD. Missed opportunities during family conferences about end-of-life care in the intensive care unit. American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine 2005;171(8):844-9. PMID: 15640361
  7. McDonagh JR, Elliott TB, Engelberg RA, Treece PD, Shannon SE, Rubenfeld GD, Patrick DL, Curtis JR.  Family satisfaction with family conferences about end-of-life care in the ICU: Increased proportion of family speech is associated with increased satisfaction. Critical Care Medicine 2004;32(7):1484-8. Doi: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000127262.16690.65
  8. Wenrich MD, Curtis JR, Ambrozy DA, Carline J, Shannon SE, Ramsey PG.  Dying patients’ need for emotional support and personalized care from physicians: Perspectives of patients with terminal illness, families, and health care providers.  Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 2003;25(3):236-246. PMID: 12614958
  9. Carline JD, Curtis JR, Wenrich MD, Shannon SE, Ambrozy DM, Ramsey PG. Physicians' interactions with health care teams and systems in the care of dying patients: Perspectives of dying patients, family members, and health care providers. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2003;25(1):19-28.  doi: 10.1016/S0885-3924(02)00537-7 
  10. Wells MJ, Wilkie DJ, Brown MA, Corless IB, Farber S, Judge MKM, Shannon SE.  Technology available in nursing programs: implications for developing virtual end-of-life educational tools. Journal of Cancer Education 2002;17(2):92-96. PMID: 12092860
  11. Shannon SE, Mitchell PH, Cain K.  Patients, nurses, and physicians have differing views of quality in critical care.  Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2002;34(2):173-179. PMID: 12078543
  12. Wenrich MD, Curtis JR, Shannon SE, Carline JD, Ambrozy DM, Ramsey PG.  Communicating with dying patients within the spectrum of medical care from terminal diagnosis to death.  Archives of Internal Medicine 2001;161:868-874. PMID: 11268231
  13. Curtis JR, Wenrich MD, Carline JD, Shannon SE, Ambrozy DM, Ramsey PG.  Understanding physicians’ skills at providing end-of-life care: perspectives of patients, families, and health care workers.  Journal of General Internal Medicine 2001;16:41-49. PMID: 11251749
  14. Shannon SE.  The roots of interdisciplinary conflict around ethical issues.  Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America 1997;9:13-28. PMID: 9136341