News: AACN Grant Supports Pavlish’s Ethics Research

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Kristie Aylett
AACN Communications
(228) 229-9472

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses awards Impact Research Grant to UCLA nurse researcher

Carol Pavlish receives AACN grant to implement and evaluate an education program and screening protocol aimed at preventing ethical conflicts among clinicians

AACN Impact Research Grants fund studies that address gaps in clinical bedside knowledge to support clinical inquiry and drive change in high acuity and critical care nursing practice

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — May 6, 2014 — The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recently awarded an AACN Impact Research Grant to Carol Pavlish, RN, PhD, FAAN, associate professor of nursing, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Pavlish will work with other nurse researchers at UCLA Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and Massachusetts General, Boston, to implement and evaluate an ethics education program, titled “CO:ADVOCATE: A Program to Prevent Ethical Conflict and Moral Distress in ICU.”

The CO:ADVOCATE program emphasizes a proactive interdisciplinary strategy to prevent or mitigate ethical conflicts in critical care units, especially during care of patients near the end of life.

Integrated into the research effort, the teams will also evaluate an Ethics Early Action Protocol screening tool to identify patient situations at high risk for ethical conflict.

“Pavlish’s study is timely in view of reports that moral distress in clinical practice continues to escalate and isn’t likely to diminish given the increasing ethical complexity of healthcare,” says AACN Senior Director Ramón Lavandero, RN, MA, MSN, FAAN.

AACN will host a May 21 summit on moral distress during its 2014 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition in Denver. The association is also a participant in planning for an interdisciplinary state-of-the-science conference on the issue.

Pavlish has more than 35 years of experience in nursing education, focusing on nursing ethics education for the past 18 years.

Her contributions to the profession have been recognized with numerous awards, including The DAISY Award for Educators from The DAISY Foundation in 2013.

She co-authored a textbook, “Community-based Collaborative Action Research: A Nursing Approach,” which was recognized in 2011 as an American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year.

AACN Impact Research Grants support clinical inquiry that drives change in high acuity and critical care nursing practice. Priority projects address gaps in clinical research at the organization or system level and translation of these findings to bedside clinicians. Projects include use of technology to assess patients and manage outcomes; ways to create a healing and humane environment; and processes and systems to optimize high acuity and critical care nursing.

Three Impact Research Grants are available annually to established researchers and beginning researchers with mentors. Applicants may request up to $50,000 in total costs for a maximum of three years. This year, AACN awarded three grants.

Ruth Kleinpell, RN-CS, PhD, FAAN, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, also received an Impact Research Grant. She and her team will conduct a national survey to identify models of care for acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs). The project is an essential next step in advance of a large, prospective study to determine the effectiveness of ACNPs in the acute care setting.

The third Impact Research Grant was awarded to Norma Metheny, RN, PhD, FAAN, Saint Louis University School of Nursing, St. Louis. She will use the grant to study feeding-tube placement in infants to develop a bedside protocol to quickly determine correct placement and significantly reduce the need for x-rays or other methods that expose patients to radiation.

In addition to the three Impact Research Grants, AACN continues to award annually the AACN-Sigma Theta Tau Critical Care Grant for up to $10,000 and as many as three AACN-Philips Healthcare Clinical Outcomes Grants, up to $10,000 each.

Leanne Boehm, RN, MSN, ACNS-BC, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, received the AACN-Sigma Theta Tau Critical Care Grant to study factors that may influence interdisciplinary protocol use of the ABCDE bundle and its effectiveness.

AACN-Philips Healthcare Clinical Outcomes Grant recipients are as follows:

  • Susan Fetzer, RN, PhD, CNL, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, Nashua, to study noise reduction protocols in critical care environments.
  • Susan Finn, RN, MN, CNL, CCRN, CNRN, Billings (Mont.) Clinic, to evaluate the efficacy of new technology to guide internal triage of newly admitted patients.
  • Karen Mellott, RN, PhD, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, to determine the instruction method that most effectively teaches nurses how to recognize patient ventilator asynchrony.

Principal investigators for all grants must be current AACN members. Grant applications must be submitted online by Nov. 1, 2014.

For more information, including award criteria and supporting documents, visit www.aacn.org/grants.


About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN joins together the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses and claims more than 235 chapters worldwide. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109;
Phone: (949) 362-2000; Fax: (949) 362-2020; www.aacn.org; facebook.com/aacnface; twitter.com/aacnme