Research grants drive change in nursing practice

Sep 28, 2017

Added to Collection

Evidence provided from AACN-funded research projects influences the care provided by nurses every day. Applications due by Nov. 1, 2017, for next funding cycle

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – Sept. 28, 2017 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) announces the recipients of its annual research grants and invites clinicians and researchers to submit projects by Nov. 1, 2017, 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 nearly $1 million and 17 Impact Research Grants to ensure a pipeline for evidence-based resources in support of a wide range of AACN 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 high acuity and critical care nursing practice and outcomes for patients and their families,” said AACN Chief Clinical Officer Connie Barden, RN, MSN, 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:

Reducing Burnout in Critical Care (Impact Research Grant)

Most research into clinician burnout focuses on the individual, without addressing the work environment and organizational elements. This study will examine burnout, secondary trauma and compassion fatigue in relation to AACN’s Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments and other factors. A research team from Banner Health System and Arizona State University will survey critical care nurses at 40 sites within the health system, providing considerable descriptive data for future research. Lesly Kelly, RN, PhD, assistant professor at Arizona State University and nurse clinical research program director at Banner University Medical Center Phoenix, will lead the study.

Engaging Family Caregivers in the ICU (Impact Research Grant)

Family caregivers can be active partners in bedside care in the intensive care unit (ICU), and this project aims to provide evidence-based strategies to involve them in specific ways. The researchers will develop and test an online educational resource to encourage family caregivers of mechanically ventilated patients to assess patients’ thirst and anxiety and guide them through appropriate, specific techniques to alleviate these common symptoms. Leading the project is Breanna Hetland, PhD, RN, CCRN-K, a postdoctoral fellow at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.

Measuring the Acuity of Pediatric Critical Care Nursing (Impact Research Grant)

A new acuity tool could provide much-needed practical insights into the cognitive workload and complexity of care among pediatric critical care nurses. Jean Connor, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN, director of nursing research for cardiovascular and critical care services at Boston Children’s Hospital, first developed the Complexity Assessment and Monitoring to Ensure Optimal Outcomes (CAMEO) tool in 2009. CAMEO has since been adapted and internally validated across all pediatric and neonatal settings at Boston Children’s Hospital. This study expands the research to eight other children’s hospitals to validate its use in external settings and further examine the current complexity of pediatric critical care.

Understanding Biofilms on Urinary Catheters (AACN-STTI Grant)

Biofilms on urinary catheters are associated with catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), one of the most common and serious healthcare-associated infections. Researchers at Stony Brook University School of Nursing, New York, will examine urinary catheters for biofilm characteristics and locations. The results of this study have implications for targeted catheter design intended to prevent CAUTI, as well as strategies aimed at timing the removal of high-risk catheters.

AACN will award up to three $50,000 Impact Research Grants in 2017. AACN continues to offer annually the AACN-Sigma Theta Tau 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 Theta Tau International (STTI) members are also eligible to apply for the AACN-STTI grant.

The application period for next year’s funding is now open. All research grant applications must be submitted online by Nov. 1. 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 Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; 949-362-2000;;;