May 07, 2021

OHIO-Nurses are up against major obstacles every day: workplace violence; burnout; unsafe staffing; COVID-19; and other traumatic events. Many of these have a lasting impact that go beyond the bedside, leading to moral injury within the profession. Moral injury, often described as a consequence of continual acts that go against one’s morality, is a phenomenon sweeping the profession, which is why the Ohio Nurses Foundation announced today the winners of a $100,000 award to support important research on moral injury in nursing. The research will be conducted by a team of researchers spanning multiple universities.

“After months of preparation, the Ohio Nurses Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the $100,000 Moral Injury Research Award. This exemplary team of researchers includes Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, FNAP, Case Western Reserve University, Minjin Kim, Ph.D., RN, University of Cincinnati, Sharon Tucker, PhD, APRN-CNS, PMHCNS-BC, NC-BC, FNAP, FAAN, The Ohio State University, Dónal O’Mathúna, B.Sc.(Pharm), MA, PhD, The Ohio State University, Jin Jun, PhD, RN, The Ohio State University, and Grant A. Pignatiello, PhD, RN, Case Western Reserve University. When selecting the research group, it was important to the Foundation for the research team to be from Ohio and focused on how registered nurses in all practice settings across the state are experiencing moral injury, especially after Covid-19,” said Dr. Susan Stocker, chair of the Ohio Nurses Foundation.

The research team, who call themselves “Ohio’s Moral Injury Team,” are composed primarily of registered nurse investigators prepared at the doctoral level. The research will focus on how registered nurses in all practice settings across the state of Ohio are experiencing moral injury in the workplace.

“Nursing is a hazardous occupation. Nurses’ health and well-being have been negatively affected by the work environment and their personal lives for decades. Known to be self-sacrificing, nurses’ put their own needs last, which has been clearly demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Moral injury is one outcome of the self-sacrificing that deeply impacts nurses’ well-being,” explained Dr. Sharon Tucker, Ohio State University, member of the research team.

The research will not only collect data on moral injury in nursing, but will also encourage nurses to share their story. As Dr. Joyce Fitzpatrick, of Case Western University explained, “Narrative Nursing is a unique intervention that empowers nurses to share their collective experiences, building a strong professional bond among participants. We will use this intervention to help Ohio nurses who cared for patients and families during the COVID-19 pandemic toward the goal of enhancing nurses’ wellbeing and resilience.”

Dr. Minjin Kim, University of Cincinnati, continued, “Narrative nursing is a promising approach to foster healing and well-being of nurses who suffered mental stress and trauma during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe our intervention can create cohesion, solidarity, and resilience by allowing nurses to share and reflect their individual experiences during the pandemic while engaging in other nurses’ collective struggles.”

If you are an Ohio registered nurse and would like to participate in the study, please contact Michelle Donovan,, Ohio Nurses Foundation. To listen to today’s announcement, visit the Ohio Nurses Foundation’s Facebook page.



The Ohio Nurses Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Ohio Nurses Association, is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2002. ONF’s mission is to provide funding to advance nursing as a learned profession through education, research, and scholarship.

March 18, 2021


Avery Anderson, a PhD student in the College of Nursing’s abstract, The Three-Step Theory of Suicide: Analysis and Evaluation, was accepted and published in the scientific journal, Advances in Nursing Science.

Anderson’s clinical background in psychiatric nursing with children and adolescents and having the privilege to work with transgender and gender non-conforming children (TGNC) inspired him to dive into the disproportionate rates of mental health challenges and suicide that these children face.

“When we were tasked with choosing a theory to analyze and evaluate in our philosophy course, I was ready to dive into the suicide theory literature,” said Anderson.

Anderson and his mentor, Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA, Associate Dean of Research and Innovation and Distinguished Professor of Critical Care Research in the college collaborated on this manuscript. Anderson is excited to share this important information and have this piece published.

Looking ahead, he hopes to provide clarifying insight around mental health and suicide, particularly for children who identify as TGNC. He knows he has more reading and learning to do before conducting his own research, but he has a big goal set for his future.

“I would say this speaks to the preparation of the PhD program and Dr. Happ’s mentorship that spurred this paper’s development,” said Anderson. “My career goal is to develop a research program that contributes to combating the disproportionately high suicide outcomes for TGNC kids.”

February 24, 2021

Memphis, TN – Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease has been shown to reduce cost and improve patient outcomes, but current diagnostic approaches can be invasive and costly. A recent study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, has found a novel way to identify a high potential for developing Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms occur. Ray Romano, PhD, RN, completed the research as part of his PhD in the Nursing Science Program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Graduate Health Sciences. Dr. Romano conducted the research through the joint laboratory of Associate Professor Todd Monroe, PhD, RN, at The Ohio State University, who is also a graduate of the UTHSC Nursing Science PhD Program and Dr. Ronald Cowan, MD, PhD, who is the Chair of Psychiatry at UTHSC.

July 20, 2020

The five-year, $3.13 million grant will deploy social-assistive robots at Ohio Living Westminster-Thurber and Chapel Hill Community in Canal Fulton near Canton for an eight-week trial. The study is aimed at curbing loneliness and apathy in older adults, especially for those with dementia.

July 08, 2020

Kathy Wright saw the ravages of Alzheimer's disease and hypertension when she served as a caregiver for her father, who dealt with those devastating illnesses. In her role as an assistant professor in the College of Nursing, she also knows these health problems hit the African American community particularly hard.

So Wright – who holds a faculty position in Ohio State’s Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Brain Injury Institute – has dedicated her research lab, dubbed the B^HIVE (Brain and Blood Pressure Health in Valuable Elders), to work with at-risk communities on preventative methods to ward off high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease. Those interventions often involve healthier eating and mindfulness exercises to decrease stress.

In this Minute Professor video, Wright explains the importance of keeping your blood pressure in check, tips for how to do it, and how Ohio State is designing interventions to help the African American community. 

May 26, 2020

The National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Nursing Research (NIH/NINR) has awarded a four-year, $1.6 million R01 grant to fund the study, “Reducing Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Black Young Adults.” The grant was awarded to Janna Stephens, PhD, RN, (PI) assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Nursing’s Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth. Co-investigators from Ohio State include Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, EBP-C, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, and Alai Tan, PhD, of the College of Nursing and Carla Miller, PhD, of the College of Public Health. Other co-investigators include Lora Burke, PhD, of Pittsburgh University and Antoinette Perkins of Columbus State Community College.

The study focuses on developing strategies and interventions to assist young African American adults who attend community colleges in creating and sustaining improved health habits in order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues later in life.

Stephens and her team will recruit 256 African American community college students who are overweight or obese for the study. This understudied population is at very high risk for cardiovascular disease later in life.

Their goal is to provide these students with a personalized, culturally tailored health coaching program to promote heathy eating and increased exercise habits. During one year, Stephens and her team will track students via a smartphone application, conduct health coaching sessions and provide resources and information to help them eat healthily, increase physical activity and develop other health habits to achieve health, fitness and weight loss goals.

“I really enjoy working with the community college population and making connections with these at-risk students,” said Stephens. “I cannot wait to start working with my team and the students to teach them healthy lifestyle habits to prevent cardiovascular disease later in life!”

May 20, 2020

When researchers asked prospective study participants who they would like to see in videos promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors, the answer was unequivocal: They wanted to see themselves – that is, other mothers living in low-income households who were overweight or obese.

The researchers obliged. And the intervention they designed produced the desired results when it came to improving participants’ diet. As a group, the women in the study who watched the videos and talked to their peers over 16 weeks were more likely to have reduced their fat consumption than women in a comparison group who were given print materials about lifestyle change.

The participants were women who face stubborn health challenges – highly stressed overweight low-income mothers of young children who, for example, tend to retain 10 or more pounds of pregnancy weight after childbirth and are likely to eat high-fat foods. They are at risk for life-long obesity and potential problems for themselves and new babies if they become pregnant again.

“I asked them during focus groups who should be in the videos, and they said, ‘We want to see us. And our children. Do not lie to us and hire professionals, because we’ll be able to tell,’” said Mei-Wei Chang, lead author of the study and associate professor of nursing at The Ohio State University.

“They said, ‘We want to see them before the change and the struggles they had, and what happened after that.’”

Chang and colleagues identified two factors that led to the intervention’s success: The study was designed to appeal to the participants’ personal values and instill in these mothers enough confidence to take on the challenge of living a healthier life.

“My experience with this population is that they really want to make a change. Some might perceive that they don’t want to. But they do – they just don’t know how to,” Chang said.

The research is published online in the journal Appetite and will appear in the August print issue.

The two psychosocial factors Chang and colleagues examined in this study are known as autonomous motivation (what’s important in a person’s life) and self-efficacy (a person’s confidence in her ability to carry out a behavior or task). Previous research has shown that poverty can lead to low self-efficacy.

Autonomous motivation differs by population. In this study, the participants told researchers in focus groups before the intervention began that they wanted to be role models for their children. They hoped to be less stressed and happier, and to maintain good family relationships.

Chang recruited participants from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which serves low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women and children up to age 5. Those eligible for the program must have an annual household income no higher than 185 percent of the federal poverty line.

The mothers were between the ages of 18 and 39 and their body mass index ranged from 25.0 to 39.9 – from the lowest indicator of being overweight to just below the extreme obesity range. The intervention was aimed at preventing weight gain by promoting stress management, healthy eating and physical activity. This study analyzed only the diet-related results.

During the trial, the 212 participants randomized into the intervention group watched a total of 10 videos in which women like them gave testimonials about healthy eating and food preparation, managing their stress and being physically active.

In the videos, the women wore casual clothes and told their stories, unscripted. They demonstrated meal prep with familiar foods and showed that simple, practical steps – like reading food labels – could gradually lead to a healthier lifestyle.

“They talked about a lot of things I didn’t know,” said Chang, who has worked with women enrolled in WIC for about 20 years. “They spoke their mind about what was important – like how they mentally dealt with changing behavior but not losing weight. And about being afraid to fail.”

The participants also dialed in to 10 peer support group teleconferences over the course of the study.

In phone interviews, the researchers asked the mothers about what they were eating, their confidence in sticking to a low-fat diet and why they wanted to eat more healthfully.

Based on those surveys, the researchers determined that, compared to the group reading print materials, the mothers who watched videos and spoke with their peers reported larger increases in autonomous motivation and self-efficacy and a more significant decrease in fat intake after the 16-week intervention.

“Essentially, they said, ‘If she could do it, I could do it.’ That’s why we used peers to develop the intervention,” Chang said.

The researchers are still analyzing data related to physical activity results, and have found that the intervention’s emphasis on coping self-efficacy helped reduce participants’ stress. The videos are now part of WIC’s continuing education series for mothers.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Co-authors included Alai Tan and Duane Wegener from Ohio State and Jiying Ling and Lorraine Robbins from Michigan State University.

April 17, 2020

Drs. Mary Beth Happ and Judy Tate discuss evidence-based tips and techniques for communicating with mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19. Mary Beth and Judy are members of the Patient Provider Communication Forum COVID-19 Task Force, a multidisciplinary group of nurses and speech language pathologists with expertise in communication science.

March 26, 2020

Microwave ovens produce radio-frequency waves that cause the water molecules in an object to vibrate. This vibration causes friction, which allows the object to heat up to a temperature that can kill germs.

That's why microwaves are sometimes used to disinfect items such as a household sponge, as they are a hotbed for viruses and bacteria.

However, research has found mixed results on whether a microwave can effectively kill germs on a sponge, or even in food. Here's what you need to know.

February 12, 2020

College ranks #16 among all nursing colleges, #9 among public institutions

The Ohio State University College of Nursing has strengthened its standing as a top earner of grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research’s new review of NIH grant awards ranks the College of Nursing at #16 overall and #9 among public institutions, with approximately $4.3 million in NIH research funding.

This is the third consecutive year that the College of Nursing has ranked in the nation’s top 20 for primary NIH grant funding. Overall, the college received approximately $10.7 million in research and development grants from external funders, including NIH, in FY2019.

“Our standing as a premier research college is driven by the passion, innovation and dedication of our research leadership, faculty and staff to improve healthcare quality and health outcomes,” said Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing. “The NIH’s continued investment in our research helps us transform health and improve lives by dreaming, discovering and delivering a healthier world.”

“The innovative and relevant science that our research faculty conduct is addressing critically-important healthcare problems,” said Mary Beth Happ, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, associate dean for research and innovation at the College of Nursing. “Their work will help improve the health and well-being of people across the life-span.”

This round of NIH funding encompasses both new awards and recurrent years of funding for existing, supported research programs. New awards for the College of Nursing support science in the area of aging, including pain/symptom management and interventions to promote cognitive and functional recovery from critical illness in adults. Those programs include:

Expansion of study on pain differences for Alzheimer’s patients

Karen O. Moss, PhD, RN, CNL, assistant professor at the College of Nursing, received a diversity supplement award in conjunction with a five-year existing NIH/National Institute on Aging (NIA) study entitled “Sex Differences in Pain Reports and Brain Activation in Older Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease.” The grant was awarded to an interdisciplinary team that includes Todd Monroe, PhD, RN-BC, FNAP, FGSA, FAAN, associate professor in College of Nursing, as well as faculty from the College of Nursing, the Departments of Neurology and Geriatrics, the Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging at Ohio State and collaborators from Vanderbilt University. The study is examining gender and Alzheimer’s-related differences in verbal pain reporting patterns and how they are displayed in regional and network brain function, with an aim to lead to better pain management. Moss’ work will focus on how patients of different racial backgrounds self-report pain and the impact of Alzheimer’s on how the brain processes pain, with the long-term goal of developing appropriate interventions.

Advancing science on sensitivity to cancer pain in Alzheimer’s patients

Monroe and his research partner Ronald Cowan, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral health at Vanderbilt University, will lead a multi-site five-year, $5 million NIH/NIA grant project to advance research focused on patients with Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer and their sensitivity to pain. The study, “Pain Sensitivity and Unpleasantness in People with Alzheimer’s Disease and Cancer,” examines whether these patients are at greater risk of suffering from poorly-treated pain at the end of life.

Helping adults needing treatment in intensive-care units

The National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH/NHLBI) awarded a three-year, $1.2 million grant to Michele Balas, PhD, RN , CCRN-K, FCCM, FAAN, associate professor in the College of Nursing. The study entitled “Determinants of Implementation Success Coordinating Ventilator, Early Ambulation and Rehabilitation Efforts in the ICU (DISCOVER-ICU)” includes collaborators Alai Tan, PhD, (Co-I) and Lorraine Mion, PhD, RN, FAAN, (Co-I) of The Ohio State University College of Nursing, plus collaborators from Vanderbilt University and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. This study advances research into evidence-based interventions – including what is known as the ABCDEF bundle – to improve clinical outcomes in ICU patients.

NIH/NIA also awarded a two-year, $312,000 grant to fund the study, “A Problem Solving Intervention for Post-ICU Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults.” The grant was awarded to Judith Tate, PhD, RN (PI), assistant professor in The Ohio State University College of Nursing. Co-investigators include Lorraine C. Mion, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Alai Tan, PhD, of the College of Nursing, and Jennifer Bogner, PhD, ABPP, FACRM, of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the College of Medicine. This pilot study focuses on the risks of delirium to brain health in older patients treated in ICUs and tests the impact of a home-based intervention.

NIH-supported research also continues on multi-year grants already awarded to faculty working in the Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth. That research includes:

  • Tondi Harrison, PhD, RN, FAAN: Examining responses to oral feeding in infants with both Down syndrome and congenital heart disease
  • Shannon Gillespie, PhD, RN: Testing a novel method of identifying women at risk for inflammatory preterm birth and how specific preventive interventions may offer benefit during pregnancy

The College of Nursing is currently hiring new faculty who are committed to transforming health and improving lives. You can find job openings in the college by clicking on this link.