Impact Research Grants Top $1 Million in Total Funding

Oct 17, 2018

Added to Collection

Grants available annually to support nurse-driven research designed to improve high acuity and critical care nursing practice and outcomes for patients and their families

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – Oct. 17, 2018 – 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, 2018, for the next application cycle, with total available funding of $160,000.

This year, the association awarded three 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 20 Impact Research Grants to 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 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 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:

Assessing Reiki’s Effects on Pain, Anxiety (Impact Research Grant)
Critically ill older adults are at exceptionally high risk for developing pain, anxiety and/or delirium during their hospital stay, but more needs to be known about how to best deliver effective, nonpharmacological, palliative care to reduce pain and improve patient outcomes. Reiki is a complementary health therapy where trained practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above a person, in discrete positions, with the goal of facilitating the person’s own healing response. This AACN grant will support the Reiki Intervention for Seriously Ill Elders-Intensive Care Unit (RISE-ICU) study to assess whether Reiki is superior to sham Reiki and usual care when delivered to critically ill older adults who require mechanical ventilation. Michele Balas, PhD, RN, CCRN-K, FCCM, FAAN, associate professor, and Susan Thrane, PhD, MSN, RN, assistant professor, The Ohio State University College of Nursing, Columbus, will lead the multidisciplinary research team.

Assessing Pain in Non-Verbal PICU Patients (Impact Research Grant)
Pain is a significant burden for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, yet clinicians often struggle to identify and manage pain in these patients. Observational pain assessment tools used in other patient care settings have not been validated for use in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), where even children with verbal abilities may be unable to express their pain due to intubation and mechanical ventilation. This study will evaluate whether the Individualized Numeric Rating Scale (INRS) can help nurses assess pain in non-verbal children with intellectual disabilities who are patients in a PICU. In addition to her clinical duties at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, lead researcher Kaitlin Best, PhD, RN, is a Fellow in the hospital’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program.

Using BIS Monitoring to Detect Delirium (Impact Research Grant)
With more patients surviving critical illness, delirium has become a common concern, especially in aging populations. Bispectral Index (BIS) monitoring is an innovative brain wave analysis technique with the potential to become a low-cost, early-alert delirium detection tool. The Methods of Identifying Neurological Delirium (MIND) study will assess BIS feasibility and performance against current assessment methods. The principal investigator is Malissa Mulkey, MSN, APRN, CCNS, CCRN, CNRN, a neuroscience clinical nurse specialist and a doctoral student at East Carolina University College of Nursing, Greenville, North Carolina. The findings will provide preliminary data about the use of BIS monitoring for detecting delirium and inform the design of a larger, more definitive validation study.

Nursing Certification’s Contribution to Mobility Interventions (AACN-STTI Grant)
Research has shown that early, progressive mobility improves patient outcomes, but barriers remain to implementation. This study will explore nurses and advanced practice nurses’ knowledge, behaviors and attitudes toward patient assessment of mobility readiness and implementation of mobility interventions. As part of the analysis, the researchers will examine the impact of nursing certification on implementation of mobility interventions for patients who are critically ill. Leading the project is Chris Winkelman, PhD, ACNP, CCRN, CNE, FAANP, FCCM, associate professor at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, who was among the first researchers to explore the positive outcomes of progressive mobility for critically ill adults.

AACN will award up to three $50,000 Impact Research Grants in 2019. AACN continues to offer annually the AACN-Sigma Critical Care Grant with 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, 2018. For more information, including award criteria and supporting documents, visit, or email

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;;;