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Research Nurse Initiative

The Research Nurse Initiative (RNI) is a collaborative of clinical nursing faculty from twelve Penn State campuses who have been trained as research nurses. These professional nurses are engaged with numerous clinical and community agencies through their clinical and teaching experiences. RNI scholars have completed training in research skills and ethics (including CITI and GCP training). The cohort of RNI scholars offers a wide range of clinical specialties combined with the research competencies necessary to engage in research on projects targeting their communities.

RNI Members

Marianne Adam – Schuylkill

Specialty: Family practice, health assessment, professional role transition, global nursing

Research Interests: Diabetes, chronic illness, patient education/learning, community based health promotion and programming, qualitative research

Ashley Clark – University Park

Specialties: Gerontology, medical/surgical

Research Interest: Hip fracture outcomes, simulation, nursing education

Darlene Clark – University Park

Specialties: Pharmacology, geriatric nursing, genetics, ethics, nursing workforce issues

Research Interests: Nursing workforce issues

Cathleen Dillen – Altoona

Specialties: Oncology, mental health

Research Interests: Psychosocial oncology, mental health

Diane Eaten – Behrend

Specialties: Mental health nursing across the spectrum, care of the older adult and examining the opioid epidemic.

Research Interests: Dementia care, nurse preparedness, and simulation

Milton Evans – Worthington Scranton

Specialties: Community health, pediatrics

Research Interest: Public health

Justina Ferguson – Worthington Scranton

Specialties: Critical care, nursing administration

Research Interests: Palliative care team and support in the ICU, nurses’ perceptions of bedside reporting, retention and mentoring programs for new nurse hires, stroke and community education

Christopher Garrison – University Park

Specialties: Gerontology, simulation, medical/surgical

Research Interests: Gerontology, simulation, nursing education

Sherry Goertz – Mont Alto

Specialty: Psychiatric mental health

Research Interests: Teen suicide, religious coping in persons with mental illness

Brenda Holtzer – Abington

Specialties: Pediatric nursing, care coordination for children with special needs, evidence-based practice utilization in clinical practice, outcomes in nursing education

Research Interests: Coordination of care for at-risk populations, nursing education models and outcome studies

Jill Kargo – Altoona

Specialties: Fundamentals, medical/surgical, community health

Research Interests: Adult learning, curriculum development and leadership

Margo Kertis – Behrend

Specialties: Maternity, women’s health, education

Research Interests: Adult learners, nursing interventions for positive birth outcomes

Erin Kitt-Lewis – University Park

Specialties: Long-term care, critical care

Research Interests: End of life, family caregiving

Sharon Lacue – Altoona

Specialties: Nursing simulation, gerontology, health assessment

Research Interests: Simulation in nursing (standardized patients, deliberate practice)

Dede McCreary – Altoona

Specialties: Community health nursing, leadership/management

Research Interests: Patient experience, patient satisfaction, patient safety, quality, leadership, health care innovations, nursing job satisfaction, shared governance

Kimberly Streiff – Behrend

Specialties:  Critical Care Nursing, Family Practice Advanced Practice and Mental Health.

Research Interests: Incivility in nursing education, simulation, opioid epidemic, critical care nursing and family practice topics.

Deborah Strickland – New Kensington

Specialties: Geriatrics, Palliative

Research Interests: Palliative care for chronic disease in the elderly

Mary Ellen Yonushonis – University Park

Specialties: Nursing Care of the Older Adult

Research Interests: Gero Nursing and Dying and Death