Campbell named 2018 Distinguished Research Lecturer

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Wayne State nurse scientist Margaret Campbell, an expert in dyspnea assessment and end-of-life treatment, has helped shape the care provided to dying patients


ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – Aug. 29, 2017 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) recently selected Margaret L. “Meg” Campbell, PhD, RN, FPCN, as its 2018 Distinguished Research Lecturer.

The award recognizes nurses whose research significantly influences high acuity and critical care. Established in 1982, it is now funded by a grant from Philips Healthcare, Andover, Massachusetts. Campbell, a research professor at Wayne State University College of Nursing, Detroit, is an internationally recognized expert in assessment of respiratory distress (dyspnea) and treatment across diagnoses and settings of care.

“Dr. Campbell’s groundbreaking research has helped shape the way dying patients are cared for in the United States and abroad,” said immediate past president Clareen Wiencek, PhD, RN, ACHPN, ACNP. “She is truly a pioneer in improving hospital-based palliative and end-of-life care for critically ill patients.”

Prior to joining Wayne State as a full-time faculty member in 2012, she served as director of nursing research, palliative care and advanced practice nursing at Detroit Receiving Hospital, where she had managed palliative care practice since 1988. Overall, she has more than 40 years of nursing experience, with 28 years in palliative care nursing.

Her current program of research focuses on dyspnea assessment and treatment among patients nearing death, including those in the acute and critical care setting.

Campbell developed and tested the Respiratory Distress Observation Scale (RDOS), the only known instrument to assess respiratory distress when the patient cannot provide a dyspnea self-report, including acutely and critically ill patients and those at the end of life. The RDOS has been translated into several languages and is in wide use among clinical sites globally to guide patient assessment and treatment.

Her research established that the use of oxygen in the face of no respiratory distress is a non-beneficial, yet commonly employed intervention during a patient’s last hours. She also demonstrated that patients displaying death rattle do not experience respiratory distress and, thus, pharmacological treatment is not indicated.

A pilot study funded by an AACN Impact Research Grant demonstrated that RDOS-guided ventilator withdrawal provided respiratory comfort contrasted with respiratory distress in the control group, who had an unstandardized approach to terminal ventilator withdrawal. Based on these findings, Campbell recently received a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research to conduct a larger study with four medical intensive care units to test an algorithmic approach to ventilator withdrawal at the end of life.

Earlier in her career as a nurse practitioner in charge of the Comprehensive Supportive Care Team at Detroit Receiving Hospital, she led efforts to establish an innovative nurse-led palliative care consultation service. The first nurse practitioner-led palliative care consultation service at a U.S. hospital, this program provided a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to end-of-life care that became a model for others.

She was one of the earliest clinicians to measure and disseminate positive financial outcomes from palliative care consultation, and she published some of the earliest work about palliative care in the ICU, including the AACN-published book, “Forgoing Life-Sustaining Therapy: How to Care for the Patient Who Is Near Death.”

Campbell has served on a number of influential committees and task forces to improve care of the dying, including the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine), Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, American Hospital Association, National Quality Forum and National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care.

AACN previously honored Campbell with its Flame of Excellence award in 2012 in recognition of her sustained contributions to acute and critical care nursing. Among her numerous other awards, she is a fellow of the Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses Association.

After graduating with a diploma in nursing at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Campbell continued her education with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State University. She completed her doctoral work in nursing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

As the Distinguished Research Lecturer, Campbell will discuss her career and research journey Monday, May 21, 2018, during AACN’s National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI). The world’s largest educational conference and trade show for acute and critical care nurses, NTI takes place Monday, May 21, through Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Boston (preconferences are Sunday, May 20).

The American Journal of Critical Care will publish an abstract of Campbell’s presentation in its May 2018 issue, followed by a complete manuscript in July 2018.

About AACN’s Distinguished Research Lectureship: AACN established the Distinguished Research Lectureship in 1982 to honor nationally known nurses who make significant contributions to high acuity and critical care research. The annual award, now funded by a grant from Philips Healthcare, Andover, Massachusetts, recognizes research that changes or improves patient outcomes and advances nursing education and practice. Recipients present their award-winning research at the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition and receive a $2,500 honorarium.

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 represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and includes more than 200 chapters in the United States. 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 Nurse s, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; 949-362-2000; www.aacn.org; facebook.com/aacnface; twitter.com/aacnme