CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
In the Green Room

UCLA Medical Ethicist Katherine Brown-Saltzman

People Don’t Understand How Important Nurses Are

Katherine Brown-Saltzman is an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and the co-director of the university’s Health System Ethics Center, which she co-founded. Before joining a Zócalo/UCLA panel discussion on end-of-life care—“Does Medicine Know How to Approach Death?”—she talked in the Zócalo green room about her garden, Scrabble, and how easy it is to brush ethical questions aside.

Q:
If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, were would you like to be?

A:
My granddaughter’s bedroom.

Q:
You went to school in two cold places: Wisconsin and Massachusetts. When you first arrived in California, did you spend all your time basking in the sun?

A:
I’m very partial to seasons, so it’s actually quite hard for me to have constant sun. That said, I’m not sure I have the endurance to bear Wisconsin winters anymore.

Q:
Where do you like to spend afternoons in Los Angeles?

A:
My garden. I have a wonderful one.

Q:
Why is there a need for ethics centers?

A:
Ethics is extraordinarily hard work. In our busy lives, it’s very easy to brush it aside, but if you’re going to have a true conversation about ethics, you have to dig deep and consider all different perspectives.

Q:
What’s your favorite board game?

A:
Scrabble.

Q:
If not nursing, what would you be doing professionally?

A:
Writing. I kind of do it anyway. I write poetry.

Q:
When was the last time you sang in front of people?

A:
Christmas.

Q:
What’s one thing people don’t understand about nurses?

A:
I don’t think they always understand how important it is—how, literally, their lives are in the hands of nurses.

Q:
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?

A:
I love breakfast. I think it’s important.

*Photo by Jake Fabricius.