Research Grants Address Gaps in Bedside Knowledge

Oct 21, 2020

Added to Collection

Annual research grants support clinical inquiry and drive change in acute and critical care nursing practice

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – Oct. 20, 2020 – 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 Oct. 30, 2020, 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 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 24 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 acute 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 acute 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 contributions of acute and critical care nurses
  • Effective approaches to symptom management
  • Prevention and management of complications

“AACN has a long-standing commitment to nurse-driven research and evidence-based practice. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of anchoring all healthcare decision-making in the best scientific evidence available,” said AACN Chief Clinical Officer Connie Barden, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, CCNS. “AACN-funded projects influence the care provided by nurses every day and help improve outcomes for patients and their families.”

This year’s funded projects and grant recipients:

  • Smartphone Delivery of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Post-Intensive Care Syndrome-Family: A Pilot Study (Impact Research Grant)
    Family members of patients who are critically ill have symptoms of post-intensive care syndrome-family, including anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy has become the primary nonpharmacological treatment for an increasing list of psychological symptoms. Smartphone delivery of cognitive behavioral therapy via a mobile health app leverages technology in symptom self-management that can be used in collaboration with other nursing interventions without significant resource expenditures. This pilot study will allow collection of preliminary data needed for planning a fully powered randomized controlled study. Amy Petrinec, PhD, RN, assistant professor, Kent State University College of Nursing, is the principal investigator for the study.
  • Simultaneous Recumbent Cycling and Cognitive Training on Cognition in ICU Survivors: A Randomized Control Trial (Impact Research Grant)
    Many ICU survivors experience cognitive decline after hospital discharge. Physical activity and cognitive training have each independently shown promise in improving cognition; however, combining these two interventions to improve cognition has not been fully explored. This is especially true for middle-aged ICU survivors who need well-planned, accessible interventions that are effective in improving cognition and preventing accelerated cognitive decline as they resume previous life activities and transition into older age. In this randomized clinical trial, the research team aims to investigate the feasibility, acceptability, and trends in cognition differences between a simultaneous physical activity plus cognitive training intervention and usual care. The lead researcher is Sue Lasiter, PhD, RN, associate professor of nursing and PhD program director, University of Missouri, Kansas City, School of Nursing and Health Studies.
  • Sleep Disruption and Delirium in Critically Ill Children (AACN-Sigma Grant)
    Pediatric delirium, a common complication of pediatric critical illness, is associated with poor clinical outcomes. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between modifiable characteristics of the pediatric critical care environment (i.e., light and sound exposure, caregiving frequency), sleep disruption and delirium in a sample of 20 critically ill children from birth to 2 years old. The results of this study will inform future, large-scale studies, as well as the design and implementation of nurse-driven sleep promotion interventions, with the potential to help prevent delirium and improve clinical outcomes in children. Laura Beth Kalvas, MS, RN, PCCN, graduate fellow, The Ohio State University College of Nursing, received the grant.

AACN will award up to three $50,000 Impact Research Grants in 2021. AACN continues to partner with the Sigma Foundation for Nursing to cosponsor 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-Sigma grant.

The application period for next year’s funding is open. All research grant applications must be submitted online by Oct. 30, 2020. For more information, including award criteria and supporting documents, visit or email

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: For more than 50 years, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has been dedicated to acute and critical care nursing excellence. 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. AACN is the world's largest specialty nursing organization, with more than 120,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 27071 Aliso Creek Road, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; 949-362-2000;;;