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AACN grants support clinical research to influence high-acuity and critical care nursing practice

Newswise — The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) announces the recipients of its annual research grants. Clinicians and researchers are invited to submit projects by Nov. 1, 2019, for the next application cycle, with total available funding of $160,000.

This year, the association awarded two AACN Impact Research Grants up to $50,000 each and the AACN-Sigma Theta Tau Critical Care Grant with up to $10,000 in funding. Since launching the grants program in 2011, AACN has awarded more than $1 million and 22 Impact Research Grants to help ensure a pipeline for evidence-based resources in support of a wide range of priorities.

AACN Impact Research Grants support clinical inquiry that drives change in high-acuity and critical care nursing practice. The grants are designed to help ensure a vital source of clinically relevant research for creating evidence-based resources that influence high-acuity and critical care nursing practice. Five priority areas guide AACN’s research activities and initiatives:

  • Effective and appropriate use of technology to achieve optimal patient assessment, management and/or outcomes

  • Creation of healing, humane environments

  • Processes and systems that foster the optimal contribution of critical care nurses

  • Effective approaches to symptom management

  • Prevention and management of complications

“Through our grants, AACN supports nurse-driven research designed to improve high- acuity and critical care nursing practice and outcomes for patients and their families,” said AACN Chief Clinical Officer Connie Barden, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, CCNS. “The evidence provided from AACN-funded projects influences the care provided by nurses every day.”

This year’s funded projects and grant recipients:

Improving ICU Recovery in Survivors of Critical Illness (Impact Research Grant)

  • Survivors of critical illness may have cognitive, mental health and physical impairments that last for years after their hospitalization. A variety of programs have been implemented to help ICU survivors and address the cluster of impairments called post-intensive care syndrome (PICS). This study will examine the outcomes of patients who visit either an in-person post-ICU clinic or a virtual telemedicine PICS clinic following hospital discharge. Leanne Boehm, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, assistant professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, will lead the research project at the Vanderbilt ICU Recovery Center.

Virtual Reality Simulation: The Future of Onboarding (Impact Research Grant)

  • Novice nurses need better ways to gain experience to more efficiently develop clinical judgment as they transition to practice. This research project aims to describe the effectiveness of virtual reality (VR) training to teach early recognition skills to new nurses observing respiratory distress among critically ill children with bronchiolitis. After receiving the standard training provided during orientation, randomly selected nurses will participate in a VR curriculum with three patient scenarios. Follow-up assessments will allow the research team to evaluate results from nurses in the control group and those who participated in the VR curriculum. The Cincinnati Children Hospital team will be led by Vice President of Patient Services Mary Sitterding, PhD, RN, CNS and co-primary investigator Amy Donnellan, DNP, RN.

Predicting Pressure Injuries Among Critical Care Patients: Testing a Machine Learning Model (AACN-STTI Grant)

  • Recommended standards of practice include pressure injury risk assessment. However, the risk assessment tools currently in use, such as the widely used Braden scale, classify most critical care patients as ‘high risk’ and therefore do not give nurses the information they need to allocate limited pressure injury prevention resources appropriately. The research team developed a machine learning model to predict pressure injury development among critical care patients and will use the AACN-STTI grant to test the model in a new, clinically similar population. The long-term goal is to develop a predictive model that will be deployed in the electronic health record to provide real-time decision support, enabling nurses to identify patients at highest risk for pressure injury and to apply targeted interventions. Lead researcher Jenny Alderden, PhD, APRN, CCRN, CCNS, is an assistant professor at Boise State University School of Nursing.

AACN will award up to three $50,000 Impact Research Grants in 2020. AACN continues to offer the annual the AACN-Sigma Critical Care Grantwith up to $10,000 in funding.

Principal investigators must be current AACN members with either an earned master’s degree or completed candidacy requirements for a doctoral degree. Sigma members are also eligible to apply for the AACN-STTI grant.

The application period for next year’s funding is open. All research grant applications must be submitted online by Nov. 1, 2019. For more information, including award criteria and supporting documents,

visit, or email

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 with 400 members, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the world’s largest specialty nursing organization. In 2019, AACN celebrates 50 years of acute and critical care nursing excellence, serving more than 120,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States. The organization remains committed to its vision of creating a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. During its 50th anniversary year, AACN continues to salute and celebrate all that nurses have accomplished over the last half century, while honoring their past, present and future impact on the evolution of high-acuity and critical care nursing.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109;

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