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NIH Announces Dr. Shannon Zenk as Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research

On July 1, NIH announced that Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, has selected Shannon N. Zenk, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN as Director of NIH’s National Institute of Nursing Research. Dr. Zenk is expected to join NIH in early fall.

Read the full press release here.


Learn About Careers in Nursing Research – Panel Discussion

Careers in Nursing Research Panel
Date: July 10, 2020
Time: 2:00 pm ET

The NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education (OITE) will hold a panel on careers in nursing research featuring NINR speakers:

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RADx-UP to Speed up Delivery of COVID-19 Tests

RADx-Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) has improved access to and acceptance of COVID-19 testing for underserved populations. The goal is to make millions of tests available to Americans each week, especially those most vulnerable to and disproportionately affected by COVID-19. 

NIH has partnered with other government organizations including the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help achieve this goal.  

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Pre-application Webinars for RADx-UP Funding Opportunities

On June 12, 2020, the NIH published three Notices of Special Interest to solicit emergency competitive revision applications to existing awards and a fourth funding opportunity announcement for a Coordination and Data Collection Center to support the goals of the NIH RADx-UP program.

NIH is providing two pre-application webinars.

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The COVID-19 Pandemic in New York City: A Nurse Leader's Personal and Professional Experience and Perspective with Dr. Vicky Tiase

Dr. Vicky Tiase, a nurse informatician from New York City, joined Healthcare's MissingLogic Podcast to share her experience on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She discusses the challenges faced during the initial days of the pandemic, transitions that needed to meet staff needs, and the importance of mental health and how individuals can support one another.

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Mark Your Calendars for NINR’s Social Genomics Workshop!

Genomic Response to the Social Environment: Implications for Health Outcomes
June 24, 2020 at 10:00 AM ET 

NINR will host the workshop “Genomic Response to the Social Environment: Implications for Health Outcomes” on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. EDT. The event is open to the public and registration is not required.

The full agenda is available on the workshop’s event page.The workshop will be streamed live via NIH VideoCast.

COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Karen Monsen

Karen A Monsen, PhD, RN, FAMIA, FAAN 
University of Minnesota School of Nursing

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Together with 300+ participants from 10 countries and 35 states, I am leading the rapid development and deployment of encoded, evidence-based COVID-19 Response Guidelines. These guidelines are publicly available at and are available in our Omaha System Guidelines App available now at iTunes (and in review by Google). This guideline synthesizes evidence from over 100 sources, primarily from CDC, WHO, and other highly credible organizations; within 90 interventions for 25 roles from triage to midwifery. We are actively updating the guideline as new evidence emerges, which is a constant challenge. This is a great opportunity for nurses, scientists, students, and community members to have a role and a voice in ensuring that we have a way to describe, disseminate, and document evidence-based care to defeat COVID-19. 

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist. 
My research uses standardized nursing data and systems to improve the quality of care in home visiting interventions and outcomes. This research has been informed by 20 years of experience as a public health nurse and manager. I have developed a novel practice-based research network based on standardized nursing terminology data through the University of Minnesota Center for Nursing Informatics. This Omaha System Partnership research has been conducted by multidisciplinary research teams and international research teams with student principal- or co-investigators and community partner principal- or coinvestigators. This work forms the basis for comparative effectiveness research, to shape policy in knowledge management, and to educate students in contemporary health care practices. This uniquely situated research blends clinical and scholarly perspectives, adding rigor to clinical processes and relevance to scholarly inquiry, which results in a powerful and sustained impact on health care quality. 

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Partnership, Progress, Pandemic: The Impact of COVID-19 on Medical Discovery Roundtable Discussion

Research!America and partners are hosting a virtual roundtable discussion on Thursday, June 18 at 2:00 pm ET. This roundtable will be focusing on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public and private sector-fueled medical progress. Participants will explore the pandemic’s influence on the impact on federally funded research, our nation’s R&D infrastructure, the private sector investment climate, technology transfer and other key variables influencing the pace of medical progress, and opportunities to quickly reboot R&D as we move forward. You can find more information here.


A Special Note from FNINR's President

These are challenging times for healthcare professionals and scientists, and for the people and communities we serve. Likewise, we are experiencing insights, innovation, and a deeper sense of community. As a member of the FNINR community, please know that you have been in my thoughts.

The work you do and the work you support are critical, and are more important now than ever. Many in our communities are on the frontlines engaging with COVID-19, others supporting direct care givers, and others devoted to discovering safe practices, and all of us committed to expanding our knowledge and transformation of healthy communities.  FNINR is sharing your stories, stories of nurse scientists on the frontlines of the pandemic, advancing the health of communities. FNINR honors scientist heroes by telling their stories and by advocating for them at the federal level as we support the National Institute of Nursing Research.

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COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Robin Austin

Robin Austin, PhD, DNP, DC, RN-BC 
University of Minnesota, School of Nursing

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic.
This COVID-19 project is titled “Social Determinants of Health and COVID-19: Implementing Community Outreach Data Collection Tool to Engage Vulnerable Individuals with Low Socioeconomic Status and Inform Decision Makers on Needs of Population” using virtual outreach through web-based MyStrengths+MyHealthTM application. This project identifies and addresses the needs of this population to understand individual and community strengths, challenges, and needs (S-C-N) during the pandemic. We recognize there are multiple factors that influence individual and community health (i.e. social determinants of health); this often missing perspective is critical to provide a more complete picture of individual and community health. We will engage community voices and perspectives via a community advisory board to interpret and determine response to the data we collect.

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist.
My dissertation research highlighted the use of consumer-generated health data from the web-based health application, MyStrengths+MyHealth (MSMH). Along with my colleague and PhD advisor, Dr Karen Monsen, MSMH was developed to enable self-report of strengths, challenges, and needs using a simplified version of the Omaha System, a multi-disciplinary standardized health terminology. The feasibility and acceptability pilot test of the MyStrengths+MyHealth (MSMH) application at the Minnesota State Fair (2017) with over 380 participants was completed. The results showed it was feasible to collect participant self-report of strengths, challenges and needs data using MSMH. Participants found MSMH easy to use and liked the idea of being able to share health information from their own perspective and include strengths (assets) as part of that process. One of the most recent MSMH projects, Shifting the Opioid Conversation from Stigma to Strengths (S2S) showed that community members are interested in obtaining and using data that reveal a whole-person perspective, in order to facilitate communication and dialogue regarding opioid use disorder. This research provides a foundation to advance knowledge in the emerging field of whole-person strengths-based healthcare.

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COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Amy Knopf

Dr. Amy Knopf 
Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Nursing

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project 1: Pandemic Parenting Study 
We examine how Indiana mothers are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacts the family. Specifically, Dr. Jessica Calarco (IU, Department of Sociology) and I are identifying mothers’ preferred and trust sources of information about COVID-19, examining their understanding of the illness and its prevention, and documenting the extent to which they are following public health guidelines and Indiana’s stay at home orders. There will be three waves of data collection between April 2020 and February 2021. The first wave is now complete and data analysis is underway.

Project 2: Ethical considerations for digital contact tracing in the context of COVID-19: Implications for sexual and gender minority youth
I identify key ethical issues in digital contact tracing, especially for sexual and gender minorities. I am working with Simone Skeen to identify the ethical complexities that must be addressed to balance safety and privacy against public health goals, especially for marginalized LGBTQ adolescents. Knopf and Skeen are Co-chairs of the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions Bioethics Working Group, whose members are serving as expert informants for a paper.

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COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Lisa Lindley

Lisa C. Lindley, PhD, RN, FPCN, FAAN
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a health services and policy researcher, my work during COVID-19 is to understand the new approaches to delivering pediatric end-of-life care.

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist. 
My nurse scientist career started in the doctoral program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Under the mentorship of Dr. Barbara Mark, I gained critical skills as a health services and policy researcher with the support of a NINR T32 predoctoral scholar and AHRQ R36 dissertation award. I found my passion for ensuring children at end of life have quality, accessible hospice care. NINR funding has assisted me in advancing the science of pediatric end-of-life care with K01 and R01 research awards. This work has improved access and quality of pediatric hospice care in an environment of federal and state regulations.

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Board Member Spotlight: Cathleen Wheatley

Cathleen Wheatley, DNP, RN, CENP
President, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

What advice would you give your younger self?
Stop worrying. It serves no purpose.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?
The Caribbean - any island, any time.

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COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Holli DeVon

Holli DeVon PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHA
University of California, Los Angeles

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic.
I co-authored a manuscript that went to press on April 29, 2020 on "Current perspectives on Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) and cardiovascular disease: A white paper by the JAHA editors." This paper may be informative for nurse researchers studying cardiovascular diseases at the basic, clinical, or epidemiological level.

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist.
I am the Associate Dean for Research at the UCLA School of Nursing. My research focuses on the symptoms of acute coronary syndrome. I have received more than $7 million in grant funding and received a Fulbright Scholar Award to Rwanda in 2018. I have been honored with several research and writing awards and has published more than 100 journal articles and am a founding editorial board member for the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Ann Cary

Florida Gulf Coast University,Marieb College of Health and Human Services

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic.
I initiated the idea of assembling a University panel of health care faculty to address the public weekly in print, digital and broadcast media on separating facts from fears and working with our University communications department. Since doctorally-prepared faculty are part of this panel for weekly broadcasts on prime time news, it amplifies the role of nurses in health communication and health care.

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist.
My specialty is public health and credentialing research.
What else would you like the public to know about your role or the role of nurse scientists in the fight against COVID-19?
Doctorally-prepared nurses are essential to protecting and educating the public and are essential experts who protect the health of the public through communication and reinforcing behavioral change. 

If you would also like to share your story, you can do so by filling out this form

COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Jeannie Bernie

Jeannie Burnie
Bethesda North Hospital

As the emergency department (ED) clinical nurse specialist, I was asked to guide COVID19 pandemic preparation for a large hospital system in Southwest Ohio with six EDs (critical access, free-standing, urban and suburban) to identify processes involving screening, triage and testing patients. Executive ED leaders worked with the organizations attorney to revise the medical screening exam (MSE) policy. There was concern, with the expected surge, that physicians or advanced practice providers would not be available to provide the MSE. An interdisciplinary team developed standard operating procedures to guide ED nurses in providing the MSE for patients meeting specific, pre-established criteria. Nurses required straight forward tools to document screening, testing if indicated and consistent discharge instructions.

The team determined the need for an alternate care area (ACA) in the ED. Using guidance from the Center for Disease Control, patients presenting with fever, shortness of breath, new onset cough, malaise but stable vital signs would be evaluated in the ACA.  A screening process using pulse oximetry to determine saturations above 92% and heart rate below 110 meeting COVID-19 symptoms would be evaluated by a nurse to determine if testing was indicated.

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COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Julie McCulloh Nair and Dr. Susan Birkhoff

Julie McCulloh Nair PhD, RN, APHN-BC and Dr. Susan Birkhoff PhD, RN
West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The co-investigators seek to gain understanding of nurses’ lived experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic by documenting their stories during this period of time via written and digital narratives. Through these COVID-19 stories, nurses will share their voices and images to document their challenges, relationships, practice changes and personal feelings during this historic period in time. A brief and optional demographic survey section will be included to assist study investigators with the characterization of the study participants (i.e. years of experience, age, nursing role, etc.). Collecting these stories and demographic data allows investigators to document the nursing experience in an effort to inform future generations of nurses.

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist.
Julie: Thus far, my program of research incorporates a variety of nursing focused investigations that include substance use, negative behaviors in the workplace, the DAISY nurse, mentorship and complementary health approaches in oncology and obstetrics. I have experience with qualitative, mixed methods and community based participatory research and plan to continue building my program of research in the community setting focusing on health equity and vulnerable populations.

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COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Tener Goodwin Veenema

Tener Goodwin Veenema, PhD, MPH, MS, RN, FAAN
Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic. 
I am the Co-chair of the COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Research Group at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist.
I am a Professor of Nursing at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As an internationally recognized expert in disaster nursing and public health emergency preparedness, I have served as senior scientist to the DHHS Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response (OHSEPR), Department of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). I have sustained career funding over 2.2 million dollars, a member of the Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness at the National Academy of Medicine, and an elected Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, the National Academies of Practice, and the Royal College of Surgeons, Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, Dublin, Ireland. My research is directed towards informing policy related to public health emergency preparedness and response for catastrophic events such as pandemics and radiation/nuclear disasters.

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COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Jane Muir

Jane Muir
University of Virginia Health

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am an emergency department nurse.

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist.
As a current second year PhD nursing student at the University of Virginia, I study nurse burnout in the emergency department setting. My research interests relate to developing economic models assessing nurse burnout costs, understanding nursing shortages, and optimizing health care work environments to support nurse resiliency.

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COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Shanina C Knighton

Shanina C Knighton PhD RN
Case Western Reserve University, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic.
During COVID-19 I have am using science to advocate for, develop, and implement infection prevention policies, standards and guidelines to entities including public officials on state and federal levels, local leaders, small businesses, essential businesses, grocery stores and the local community. I have used platforms such as webinars, in-person trainings, science to inform legislation, but to also fundraise and mobilizing churches and others to get practical education resources out to lower-income communities. From a scientific innovative standpoint, I am partaking in innovation efforts such as hackathons and group meets utilizing machine learning/artificial intelligence to develop digital solutions to improve hand hygiene among consumers and tracking of COVID-19. 

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist.
I am a nurse scientist dedicated to strategically amplifying my ability to streamline research processes between engineering and nursing swiftly from the bench to the bedside by pairing my experience in clinical nursing research with the application-based training methodology of biomedical engineering. My research experience began as a nurse in clinical practice where my observations of deficient patient hand hygiene practices became the focus of my dissertation research in a baccalaureate-to-PhD program. Informed by Florence Nightingale & Virginia Henderson’s understanding of infection prevention and the importance of patients being clean along with the environment, my nursing science skillfully identified gaps in knowledge surrounding patient and self-management of hand hygiene. From the time of my pre-doctoral training, time as a VA Quality Scholar, T32-postdoc and now as a KL2 Scholar, I am emerging as a leader in the design, development, & evaluation of technology-based interventions including wearable sensors, machine learning and simple technology to support patient self-management in different settings. 
What else would you like the public to know about your role or the role of nurse scientists in the fight against COVID-19?
Nurse scientists bring an important aspect to research, policy in that while interventions and solutions are being created, our training allows us to see tangible solutions that are often overlooked or undervalued. I can speak to this. While leaders around the world are encouraging the public to clean their hands to prevent germ transmission, my science provides evidence that patients and long-term care residents have germs on their hands, but lack adequate hand hygiene products and are rarely told to practice. 
Shanina C Knighton PhD RN