A Community of Exceptional Nurses
2010 Distinguished Research Lecturer
Mary Lou Sole is Pegasus Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida.
Dr. Sole’s primary area of research has focused on physiological phenomena and clinical practices related to airway, breathing, and circulation. As one of the early nurse researchers who focused on physiological outcomes, she conducted research on the concept of tissue oxygenation using continuous monitoring. Her current research focuses on airway management to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia and improve patient outcomes.
Dr. Sole has studied contamination of suctioning equipment, which resulted in practice changes and development of better devices. Her landmark multisite STAMP [Suctioning and Airway Management Practices] study was funded by AACN. More than half of institutions lacked policies for oral care and suctioning. Nurses infrequently reported brushing patients’ teeth, and endotracheal (ET) tube cuff management practices were diverse or lacking. Study findings provided data for improving clinical practices. Sole’s recent studies have focused on ET tube cuff pressure management to prevent microaspiration and ventilator-associated pneumonia. She conducted a pilot study funded by an AACN Philips Clinical Outcomes grant that tested continuous monitoring of ET tube cuff pressure techniques and assessed changes over time. She found that many activities influence cuff pressure. She is completing a NIH-funded study testing an intervention to maintain ET tube cuff pressure within a therapeutic range based on continuous monitoring alarms and clinical triggers.
Dr. Sole has built a strong interdisciplinary research team, and has involved undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of disciplines in conduct of research and analysis of data. She has also been a leader in research in clinical settings, where she collaborates with staff nurses and advanced practice nurses in conducting research. Early in her career, she assisted in establishing procedures that permitted nurses to be principal investigators on studies (previously not allowed), and developed a consent form template implemented hospital-wide by the institutional review board.
Her educational background includes a diploma from the Ohio Valley General Hospital (Wheeling, WV), a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Ohio University, a master’s degree from The Ohio State University, and a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.
Sole has presented research and clinical topics at numerous national and international meetings. She has published more than 55 peer-reviewed articles; many are coauthored with colleagues or students. She is past editor of AACN Clinical Issues (the precursor to AACN Advanced Critical Care). She is also editor of a popular undergraduate critical care nursing textbook. In 2008, she was named a Pegasus Professor, the University of Central Florida’s top honor awarded for sustained excellence in teaching, research, and service. In 2009, she was awarded the Flame of Excellence Award from AACN. Sole is certified as a critical care clinical nurse specialist. She is a Fellow in both the American Academy of Nursing and the American College of Critical Care Medicine.
During her research career, Sole has blazed a trail for critical care nursing research in academic and clinical institutions with limited resources. In such environments, she has created a strong program of research and mentored many others in the process.
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