SLACK Names Donna Marie Fick, PhD, GCNS-BC, FGSA, FAAN, Editor of the Journal of Gerontological Nursing

SLACK Incorporated, an independent STM publishing company, is pleased to announce Donna Marie Fick, PhD, GCNS-BC, FGSA, FAAN has been named the Editor of the Journal of Gerontological Nursing. Dr. Fick will be responsible for the overall quality, integrity and content of the Journal to ensure it continues to publish clinically relevant original articles on the practice of gerontological nursing across the continuum of care.

Dr. Fick is currently a Professor in the School of Nursing and Department of Psychiatry, and Co-Director for the Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence at The Pennsylvania State University.

The Journal of Gerontological Nursing includes sections focusing on geropharmacology, clinical concepts, diagnosis: dementia, legal issues, public policy, research briefs, and technology innovations, as well as a Continuing Nursing Education quiz, available in a full-color magazine format. The Journal of Gerontological Nursing is available online at

“We are very excited to have Dr. Fick become the Editor of the Journal. She brings an impressive set of credentials and a deep understanding of gerontological nursing to the publication. We are sure she will help the publication grow and continue as an integral part of the community” said John Bond, Senior Vice President, SLACK Incorporated, Health Care Books and Journals.

With roots reaching back to 1923, SLACK is a leading provider of information to targeted health care specialties. SLACK produces 42 publications in print and online; publishes more than 250 medical and allied health books; creates and operates more than 50 Websites and Internet-related projects; directs meetings and exhibits around the world; and produces custom newspapers and meeting supplements for a growing number of health care conventions and meetings.

John A. Hartford Foundation and Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence expand the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program

Penn State’s Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence supports new doctoral student in geriatric nursing

The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence are working together with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to expand the numbers of well-qualified geriatric nursing faculty and help ensure that all nurses are prepared to care for our rapidly aging population. This partnership will continue to support nine doctoral students in geriatric nursing, one at each of the nine Hartford Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence (CGNE) nationwide, as part of the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program that started in the fall of 2010.

The purpose of the collaboration is to enhance efforts underway to increase the number of doctorally-prepared faculty with gerontology expertise who are available to teach in nursing schools nationwide. The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence will provide selected nursing doctoral students with $10,000 in financial support, to be distributed in $5,000 installments for each of the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years. The institution in which the student is enrolled will match the financial support amount and distribution schedule. In addition, schools will provide support for Scholars to attend a JCNE/ AACN leadership development conference in Washington, DC in fall 2013.

Gwen McGhan, MS, RN was selected by the Hartford Center at Penn State to receive the first Jonas Scholar award for the 2010-2012 academic period. Ms. McGhan's doctoral research focuses on improving the quality of life at the end of life for older adults, and Dr. Janice Penrod serves as her mentor. The next round of applications are now open and are due by midnight on Friday, December 16, 2011.

Eligibility criteria for the 2012-2014 Jonas Nurse Scholar award may be found at, and additional information about the Jonas Center may be found at To access the electronic application form, please e-mail Courtney Geanetta, AACN Program Assistant for Faculty Development, at If you have questions, please contact Laura Petri, Director of Faculty Programs at AACN, at 202.463.6930, ext. 270 or

Kolanowski and Fick receive funding for research on Reserve For Delirium Superimposed on Dementia

Dr. Ann Kolanowski and Donna Fick (MPI), were funded by the National Institue of Nursing Resesarch under their grant, RESERVE For Delirium Superimposed on Dementia (DSD), R01 NR012242. Information on the project can be found at the NIH RePorter web site.

The purpose of this RCT is to test the efficacy of cognitive stimulation, in the form of recreational activities, for resolving DSD. This is a 5-year $2,405,344 grant (9/09/10- 6/30/15) that will be conducted in rehabilitation sites across Pennsylvania. Other investigators include: Dr. Doug Leslie, College of Medicine, Penn State University; Dr. Mark Litaker, University of Alabama; Dr. Linda Clare, Bangor University, UK; Dr. Malaz Boustani, Indiana University; and Dr. Keith Whitfield, Duke University. [Posted Sept. 28, 2010]

Fick Receives Funding to Improve Nurse Detection and Management of Delirium Superimposed on Dementia Using the Electronic Medical Record

Penn State Hartford Center faculty Dr. Donna Fick, GCNS-BC, FAAN, (PI); Dr. Ann Kolanowski, RN, FAAN; and Dr. Dee McGonigle, RNC, FAAN (Co-Investigators), as well as co-investigators and consultants from Harvard University (Dr. Sharon Inouye, M.P.H.), Vanderbilt University (Dr. Lorraine Mion, RN, FAAN), the Medical College of Georgia, and the Indiana University Center for Aging Research received a five-year, $2.7-million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research.

The purpose of the study is to improve nursing detection and management of delirium in persons with dementia and decrease the duration and patient complications of delirium using the electronic medical record, a unit-based opinion leader, and feedback. This project builds on over a decade of funded research and clinical practice by the investigators and brings their unique and collaborative efforts together in an innovative manner to impact the under addressed problem of delirium superimposed on dementia in vulnerable hospitalized older adults.

New Resources Available from the Geropsychiatric Nursing Collaborative

The Geropsychiatric Nursing Collaborative, in collaboration with key stakeholders, has developed the several resources to draw attention to the special needs of older adults with mental health concerns and psychiatric/substance misuse disorders, including:

  • Geropsychiatric Nursing Competency Enhancements. These enhancements are not intended to stand alone, but rather to enhance existing or to-be-developed competencies by relevant professional nursing organizations.
  • Key Concepts. These key concepts are foundational to the geropsychiatric nursing competency enhancements.
  • Definition of Geropsychiatric Nursing. This definition serves to guide future discussions about preparing nurses to care for older adults with mental health concerns.

For more information and to see these resources, visit (Please note: You must have an account to view the actual documents, but registration is free.) Contact Pamela Dudzik ( with any questions.

Faculty Member Inducted into American Academy of Nursing

Dr. Donna Fick, GCNS-BC, FGSA, associate professor in Penn State’s School of Nursing, was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), as one of its 2009 fellows. She was nominated for this honor by two current AAN fellows and was selected by the AAN’s fifteen-member Fellow Selection Committee for her outstanding achievements in the nursing profession. Fick was inducted along with ninety-seven other nurse leaders at AAN’s annual awards ceremony and induction banquet in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 7, 2009.

Read the full story.

AACN Applauds the New Carnegie Foundation Report Calling for a More Highly Educated Nursing Workforce

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) applauds Dr. Patricia Benner and her team at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for recognizing the critical role education plays in a nurse’s ability to practice safely and achieve optimal outcomes in their new book, titled Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation. Consistent with AACN’s calls to enhance the education of professional nurses, the landmark study recommends preparing all entry-level registered nurses (RNs) at the baccalaureate level and requiring all RNs to earn a master’s degree within ten years of initial licensure.

Read the full story.

Faculty Receive Funding to Study End-of-Life Care in State Prisons

End-of-life care in state prisons is the focus of a new study at Penn State, which is a collaboration between the School of Nursing and the Penn State College of Medicine. Dr. Susan J. Loeb, assistant professor of nursing, and Dr. Janice Penrod, associate professor of nursing and HCGNE faculty, together with Dr. Christopher Hollenbeak, associate professor of surgery and health evaluation sciences, were recently awarded a three-year, $1,271,195 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research for their study, "Infusing End-of-Life Care into Complex Organizations: The Prison Study."

The researchers will examine cost indicators and explore the feasibility and effectiveness of applying participatory action research methodology to infuse generalist end-of-life (EOL) strategies into the complex organization of a state prison system. The infusion of enhanced EOL strategies will directly impact the quality of life of inmates who are suffering from advanced chronic illnesses. From a broader perspective, this study will provide important findings relevant to advancing EOL care by translating a model for infusing best practices into a challenging, complex organization.

Open House

In April, the School of Nursing celebrated its 45th anniversary. To help kick off the weekend celebration that focused on the school’s history and future, the Hartford Center participated by hosting an open house. Guests of the open house included alumni, students, faculty, and staff. Director Dr. Ann Kolanowski provided an overview of the center’s objectives and future plans and Dr. Laurie Gunter, former director of the School of Nursing and one of the early national leaders in gerontological nursing, also addressed the group.

Kolanowski Presents on Brain Fitness

Center director Dr. Ann Kolanowski recently gave a presentation, "Brain Fitness After Fifty," to a group of Penn State Alumni.

2009 ENRS Student Awards

Penn State Nursing graduate students were very well represented at the 2009 Eastern Nursing Research Society conference. Tara Jankouskas won the ENRS/Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS) dissertation award; Mindy Steis received first place in the doctoral student paper (oral) presentation competition; and Kim Fenstermacher received third place in the doctoral student poster presentation.

See photos of Penn State participants at the 2009 Eastern Nursing Research Society conference.

Fick Receives Research Award

Dr. Donna Fick is the recipient of the 2009 Eastern Nursing Research Society John A. Hartford Geriatric Nursing Practice Research Award. The award is given annually to an investigator who has:

  • Evidence of outstanding contributions to nursing research directed toward the older adult population.
  • Record of publications emanating from the program of research.
  • Record of research-related activities.

Loeb Named to Advisory Group

Dr. Susan Loeb has joined the Penn State Smart Spaces Center advisory group. The advisory group, part of the Smart Spaces initiative, is an interdisciplinary team of Penn State faculty and strategic partners that seeks to develop research activities using collaborative knowledge of aging, home design, technology, community planning, and public policy advances. The goal of the Smart Spaces initiative is to create innovative and practical solutions that will enable elderly persons to remain at home for as long as possible while maintaining a high quality of life.

Graduate Certificate in Geriatric Nursing Education

In conjunction with the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, the Penn State School of Nursing now offers a Graduate Certificate in Geriatric Nursing Education program.

The primary goal of the program is to prepare individuals with a current master’s degree in nursing to teach geriatric nursing education at both the associate and baccalaureate degree levels. The curriculum includes 6 credits (two 3-credit courses) of didactic content in geriatric nursing and 6 credits (two 3-credit courses) of didactic content in education. All four courses will be delivered using distance technology.

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Geriatric Nursing.

Faculty Receive Funding to Pilot Test a New Intervention for Delirium Superimposed on Dementia

Dr. Ann Kolanowski and Dr. Donna Fick, HCGNE faculty, together with Dr. Linda Buettner, University of North Carolina, Greensboro were recently awarded a one year $19,982 grant from the Social Science Research Institute supplemented with a $2,000 grant form the Smart Spaces Initiative.

The purpose of the grant is to test the efficacy of cognitive recreational activities for reducing the severity and duration of delirium in persons with dementia who are admitted to post acute facilities. Delirium is under-recognized in older adults, especially those with dementia and leads to many poor health outcomes, increased costs of care and premature institutionalization. The researchers have collaborated for many years, and this project continues their work in a highly vulnerable population.