Amanda Bettencourt Begins Term as President of AACN Board

Amanda Bettencourt Begins Term as President of AACN Board

Amanda Bettencourt, PhD, APRN, CCRN-K, ACCNS-P, is the new president of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) board of directors. She began her one-year term on July 1, 2022.

“The future of nursing and health care is unknown, and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a newfound urgency for us to work together to find solutions to both long-standing issues and new challenges,” said Bettencourt. “Starting now, we step forward with a renewed sense of purpose, a commitment to action and a focus on a better tomorrow.” Amanda Bettencourt, PhD, APRN, CCRN-K, ACCNS-P.

Bettencourt is an assistant professor in Penn Nursing’s Department of Family and Community Health. As an educator, researcher and pediatric clinical nurse specialist, her focus is on achieving the best possible outcomes for acutely and critically ill children. Her current research involves evaluating factors influencing the research-to-practice gap in critical care settings and testing implementation strategies targeting the interprofessional team to improve evidence-based care. She was recently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, where she was appointed to the National Clinician Scholars Program and received advanced training in implementation science. Previously, she was responsible for ensuring high-quality nursing care and optimal outcomes for burn, trauma and pediatric patients as a clinical nurse specialist at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, and at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida.

Bettencourt’s extensive volunteer service with AACN includes board liaison, NTI Program Planning Committee (2021), AACN – AACN Certification Corporation Nominating Committee, (2020-2021), community moderator, online AACN Peer Support Community Development Team (2020) and board liaison, Chapter Advisory Team (2019-2020).

Her additional affiliations include the American Burn Association and Sigma. In addition to presenting at the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI), she has led sessions at several other conferences, including the American Burn Association’s annual meeting. Bettencourt’s publications are in the areas of implementation science, nursing and patient safety, nurse staffing and work environments, burn critical care and pediatric delirium.

Bettencourt earned a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from the University of Florida, an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Master of Science in Nursing from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. She earned a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health care research at the University of Michigan.

Before she assumed the role as president, Bettencourt served a one-year term as president-elect. Before that, she completed a three-year term as a director from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2021, and a one-year term as treasurer from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

For more than 50 years, the 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 130,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States.

Lisa Kitko to Become 6th Dean of U Rochester School of Nursing

Lisa Kitko to Become 6th Dean of U Rochester School of Nursing

Yesterday, the University of Rochester School of Nursing announced that they have selected Lisa A. Kitko, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN to head the program. Kitko, an accomplished scholar, researcher, educator, and clinician, will become the sixth dean of the School on September 1, 2022.

The associate dean for graduate education and director of the Ph.D. program at the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing at Penn State University, Kitko emerged as the leading candidate in a national search this spring to replace Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, who announced last year she was stepping down after 11 years as dean.

Kitko accepted an offer from Mark B. Taubman, MD, CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center last week. Announcing the appointment, Taubman said: “Lisa has an outstanding academic record, and I believe that she has the ability to take our School of Nursing to the next level with regard to research, scholarship, and educational innovation. Lisa’s engaging and enthusiastic personality will be an ideal fit within the Medical Center, and I look forward to working with her on bringing the School of Nursing and School of Medicine and Dentistry together and enhancing the School of Nursing’s research profile throughout the University.”

New Dean of U Rochester SON, Lisa A. Kitko, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN.Kitko has been a member of the nursing faculty at Penn State for more than 20 years, rising from the ranks of clinical instructor to associate professor. She was named interim director of the Ph.D. program in 2019 and assumed leadership of the program and was named associate dean for graduate education in January 2020. In those dual roles, she was instrumental in reinvigorating interest in the college’s graduate programs—including the Ph.D. program, which more than doubled in enrollment. She also oversaw the transition from a master’s-level nurse practitioner program to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Kitko served as co-chair of the assessment committee that led the college through a successful CCNE accreditation visit in January 2021, and she also co-chaired the writing group that resulted in designation as a Center of Excellence (COE) by the National League for Nursing for the college. Kitko is also involved at the university level as a faculty senator and has been appointed to serve on several task forces focused on faculty affairs commissioned by the Office of the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs.

Kitko began her professional career in 1990 as an intensive care/trauma care nurse and spent more than a decade working as a clinician and hospital administrator. She developed the stroke program at Altoona Hospital while she pursued her master’s degree at Penn State, and later managed the hospital’s inpatient and outpatient neurovascular services.

Kitko also maintains an active and funded program of research focused on the palliative care needs of persons living with life-limiting illnesses and their family members, with a focus on serious illness conversations. Kitko has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on nearly a dozen grants, including several large projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation, the American Heart Association, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HRSA). Kitko is an internationally recognized expert in palliative care and heart failure and has widely disseminated her work through both peer-reviewed presentations and publications.

A fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the American Heart Association, she served as a Josiah S. Macy Jr. Faculty Scholar from 2015-2017, where she developed an interdisciplinary certificate in primary palliative care. Individuals from many different practice areas have since earned the certificate and are caring for patients in rural and underserved areas that do not have access to specialty palliative care.

A native of Pennsylvania, Kitko received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh in 1990. She earned her master’s as a clinical nurse specialist in 2001 and a PhD in nursing with a minor in gerontology in 2010, both from Penn State.

Kitko joins a UR School of Nursing that has ridden a crest of rising enrollment and a return to national prominence during Rideout’s tenure as dean. Over the past decade, the school has doubled the size of its student body, and it currently ranks among the top 25 master’s programs, according to U.S. News and World Report, and No. 23 for research funding from the NIH. The school has also been honored as an Apple Distinguished School for its commitment to academic innovation and has been honored with the Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for five consecutive years.

“Lisa Kitko is an excellent choice to succeed Kathy Rideout as dean,” said Eli Eliav, DMD, Ph.D., director and professor, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, who led the search committee. “Her background and experience coupled with her strong leadership will help support the mission and promote growth in the School of Nursing’s outstanding education and research programs. It was a pleasure working with the School of Nursing faculty and staff on this search.”

KItko herself said, “I am happy and excited to join the great team at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, and thankful for the opportunity to build on its tremendous legacy of innovation and excellence. I loved the graciousness and kindness I felt at the UR School of Nursing, and I was very much attracted to the shared commitment of faculty and staff to make the school the best it can be and provide a top-notch environment for students. I am also exhilarated by the school’s close ties with the Medical Center, and I am looking forward to working with our colleagues across the street to expand and broaden our clinical-academic partnerships.”

An “Historic Appointment”—Ann Kurth to be First Nurse to Lead NY Academy of Medicine

An “Historic Appointment”—Ann Kurth to be First Nurse to Lead NY Academy of Medicine

On July 6, the Board of Trustees of The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) announced that the Dean of the Yale School of Nursing, epidemiologist Ann Kurth, PhD, MPH, MSN, CNM, FAAN, FACNM will become the first nurse to preside over the Academy on January 1, 2023.

NYAM is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year and views Dr. Kurth’s appointment as another significant milestone in NYAM’s history as she becomes the first non-physician, and the first nurse selected to lead the organization. Dr. Kurth is a leader in higher education and health who shares NYAM’s commitment to advancing health equity. She joins NYAM from Yale University, where she is currently Dean and Linda Koch Lorimer Professor at Yale School of Nursing and Professor, Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale School of Public Health.


“It is truly an honor to join with the board, staff, and supporters of NYAM as it advocates for health in the city and the nation, at a crucial time,” said Dr. Kurth. “As NYAM moves toward its third century of impact, we will use evidence for action, in partnership with our Fellows, communities and colleagues throughout New York.”

An epidemiologist (PhD UW, MPH Columbia) and certified nurse-midwife (MSN Yale), Dr. Kurth draws from the perspectives of her STEAM (STEM + arts/humanities) disciplinary training. Dr. Kurth’s research focuses on HIV/reproductive health, and global health system strengthening, in the context of pandemics, climate change and other stresses—all of which have a disproportionate effect on structurally marginalized populations. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIAID, NIMH, NICHD, NIDA), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNAIDS, CDC, HRSA, and others, for studies in the U.S. and internationally, with over $20 million as principal investigator. At Yale Dr. Kurth co-founded the Yale Institute for Global Health, a cross-university research effort. Dr. Kurth has published 237 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and scholarly monographs and presented at hundreds of scientific conferences and invited talks.

Dr. Kurth is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, where she has been named an Emerging Leader, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (FACNM). She is past chair of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, the member association of 175+ universities supporting “academic institutions to improve the wellbeing of people and the planet.” She served on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which sets prevention and screening guidelines for the United States. Dr. Kurth currently co-chairs the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Board on Global Health and serves on the board of Yale New Haven Hospital.

As President, Dr. Kurth will leverage and expand upon NYAM’s accomplishments and legacy as a leading institution for medicine and public health, with a focus on addressing the barriers that prevent every individual from living a healthy life. This appointment marks Dr. Kurth’s return to New York, where she previously held several professorships and leadership roles at the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing, Grossman School of Medicine, and School of Global Public Health from 2008 until she joined Yale in 2016.

“We welcome Dean Kurth as our next NYAM President,” said Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, MACP, Chair of the NYAM Board of Trustees and President of SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. “As one of the nation’s most renowned nurse leaders, nurse-midwives and epidemiologists, she brings an impressive background, leadership skills and extensive experience in healthcare that will be critical to enhancing NYAM’s mission to catalyze improvement in the health of all New Yorkers and beyond. This is the right time for such an historic appointment.”

Dr. Judith A. Salerno, the current President of NYAM, will complete her five-year tenure on September 30, 2022, at which time she will become NYAM President Emerita and Senior Scholar. The Board and staff of NYAM express their deepest gratitude to Dr. Salerno for her leadership over the last five years and her dedication to furthering NYAM’s vision that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life.

Nurse Researchers Study Spread of Cancer Misinformation on Social Media

Nurse Researchers Study Spread of Cancer Misinformation on Social Media

Viewing cancer misinformation on social media negatively influenced patients’ decisions and adversely affected their mental health, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer. While online social networks can be useful resources for cancer patients, they’re also scattered with potentially dangerous misinformation.

Researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (U of U) created a resource for scientists that lays the foundation for building clinical and patient-friendly tools called the Online Cancer Nutrition Misinformation (ONC-M). The tool tracks and organizes cancer misinformation that comes from social media.

Echo Warner, PhD, MPH, researcher at Huntsman Cancer Institute and assistant professor of nursing at the U of U, asked patients and caregivers how they used social media during their cancer experiences. “The benefits of their social media use were mired by exposure to cancer misinformation. They were met with misinformation from many sources, all the way from well-intentioned friends and family to shadow scams selling ‘cancer cures’ to the highest bidder,” Warner says.

ONC-M provides a way for researchers to document how exposure to health misinformation online influences patients and caregivers.

“It’s the first framework to document the process by which exposure to health misinformation online influences patient and caregiver health behaviors and health outcomes,” says Warner. “Before now, the lack of a clear conceptual process, and the factors that influence that process, has been a major roadblock in the study of online health misinformation.”

The ONC-M describes how cancer misinformation is organized, and also creates potential pathways linking misinformation exposure, health behaviors, and cancer health outcomes. Researchers identified several primary cancer misinformation categories and factors that associate with each type of claim. Researchers found untrue claims about cancer prevention, treatment, and cures. These claims were backed by false disclaimers, anecdotes, and misinterpreted scientific articles.

“While still somewhat early in refinement, ONC-M has broad applicability and likely extends beyond cancer-related misinformation to other health domains as well,” says Warner. “We plan to test each part of the framework and study new ways of using technology to measure how much cancer patients are exposed to misinformation online.”

Warner recommends discussing any treatment or therapy questions with healthcare providers. Patients can also use an information quality tool to help identify potential biases, financial incentives, and misleading content about cancer treatments or therapies. One example is the CRAAP test.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute including P30 CA042014, the University of Arizona Cancer Center Cancer Health Disparities Training Program (T32CA078447), University of Arizona College of Nursing Eleanor Bauwens’s Research Award, University of Arizona Postdoctoral Research Development Grant, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service under Cooperative Agreement No. 58-3092-0-001, the MD Anderson Cancer Center Support Grant (P30CA16672), the Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship, Duncan Family Institute, and Huntsman Cancer Foundation. Key collaborators included Margaret Raber Ramsey, DrPH, Baylor College of Medicine, Tracy Crane, PhD, University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Terry Badger, RN, PhD, University of Arizona College of Medicine, and Karen Basen-Engquist, PhD, MD Anderson Cancer Center.

NYU School of Nursing Expands LGBTQ+ Curriculum Options

NYU School of Nursing Expands LGBTQ+ Curriculum Options

NYU Rory Meyers School of Nursing has been expanding its offerings focused on LGBTQ+ health to better prepare nursing students to provide culturally affirming and inclusive care to this population.

“It is rare for nursing schools to offer coursework dedicated to the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals, despite the unique issues they face and growing interest from students. Our goal is to empower new nurses to provide care for people across sexual orientations and gender expressions that promote health and improves patient outcomes,” said Jeff Day, DNP, AGPCNP-BC, clinical assistant professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, who developed and is teaching a new elective course on LGBTQ+ health.

LGBTQ+ individuals face barriers to healthcare, including stigma and discrimination, as well as longstanding health disparities—for instance, an increased risk for substance use, suicide, and sexually transmitted infections. Nurses have historically been leaders in caring for this patient population, particularly in advocating for people living with HIV and AIDS, but many health
professionals lack an understanding of LGBTQ+ issues in healthcare.

Research shows that undergraduate nursing programs spend an average of only 2.12 hours teaching content about LGBTQ+ health topics. Some nursing schools have taken steps to add LGBTQ+ content to their curricula: At NYU Meyers, educators recently introduced an LGBTQ-focused simulation to prepare nursing students to create a safer healthcare environment for all
patients irrespective of their gender and sexual identity. The simulation demonstrates the use of inclusive language during an imagined emergency room visit.

In 2019, Day was approached by students in one of his courses who were eager to learn more about LGBTQ+ health, prompting the development of the new standalone elective. “While ideally LGBTQ+ content would be woven throughout the entire nursing curriculum, we recognized that this amount of change takes time, so we developed an elective course to help fill the gap in LGBTQ+ educational content” said Day.

The new undergraduate course delves into the role of the nurse in providing culturally inclusive care for LGBTQ+ patients. Students learn about the history of LGBTQ+ health issues, physical and mental health concerns unique to this population, and laws and policies governing LGBTQ+ care. Topics covered include improving the care of transgender patients, HIV/AIDS, and addressing discrimination in healthcare.

The course was successfully piloted at NYU Meyers in Spring 2022 and will officially be part of the curriculum as an elective in Fall 2022.

U Utah College of Nursing Will Expand Prelicensure Track Enrollment By 25% in 2023

U Utah College of Nursing Will Expand Prelicensure Track Enrollment By 25% in 2023

To help address the shortage of nurses in the state of Utah, the University of Utah College of Nursing will increase enrollment in its prelicensure track by 25% over the next year. College leaders say this increase addresses the rising need for registered nurses in the wake of COVID-19 and because of other factors that are reshaping the nursing profession.

“This initiative is a major undertaking, and it is the right thing to do given the contemporary challenges we face,” says Michael Good, M.D., CEO of University of Utah Health. “It’s vital that we educate, train, and deploy enough nurses in Utah and elsewhere in the Mountain West to provide the health care that residents of this region have come to expect and deserve. This new approach to nursing education will be beneficial to all. I am grateful to our nursing faculty for proactively addressing this challenge.”

To meet this commitment, U of U Health’s College of Nursing will accept an additional 36 prelicensure students each year, increasing its annual enrollment from 144 to 180 students. In the past, the College of Nursing accepted 72 students for either spring or fall semester enrollment. Now the college will accept 60 students three times a year by adding the option of summer semester enrollment.

“We can’t unilaterally solve the nursing shortage. We’re fully aware that a 25% increase in our enrollment will barely put a dent in it. But we care about the people of Utah who need health care, and we’re doing our best to be responsive.”

Marla De Jong, Ph.D., RN, dean of the College of Nursing

The college will commit more than $400,000 per year to achieve this goal. Additional personnel devoted to this increase in students will include full-time faculty adjunct faculty, a student advisor, a clinical placement coordinator, and patient simulation specialists, says Marla De Jong, Ph.D., RN, dean of the College of Nursing.

“It’s important that people in Utah, as well as the rest of the country, have an adequate number of nurses to meet their health care needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” says De Jong. “We are trying to graduate more registered nurses to meet the growing demand and, in particular, ensure that there are enough nurses in Utah to provide quality care for patients now and in the future.”

More than 2,500 unfilled registered nursing positions in the state

The change comes at a time when the profession is facing a potentially crippling shortage of nurses nationwide. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects nearly 176,000 new job openings a year for registered nurses through 2029.

In Utah alone, more than 2,500 registered nursing positions are currently unfilled, according to De Jong. This gap is particularly striking given that 88% of College of Nursing graduates live and work in Utah. It is also one of the major reasons the college is expanding its enrollment, she adds.

The severity of the shortfall hit home earlier this month, when 20 US Navy medical personnel, including 14 nurses, were deployed to University of Utah Hospital to help alleviate staffing shortages that had kept 52 beds out of service. The shortage led the hospital to defer hundreds of surgeries and limit acceptance of transfers from outlying hospitals.

However, this short-term solution will not resolve the long-term problem, according to Melody Krahulec, DNP, M.S., RN, assistant dean for Undergraduate Programs at the College of Nursing. Long hours, physical stress, and mental strain have taken their toll on nurses for decades, leading many of them to leave the profession. The COVID-19 pandemic has merely exacerbated that trend, with perhaps as many as one in five considering leaving nursing within the next two years.

Add to this that almost one in five Utah nurses are approaching retirement age, and the future of health care in the state could be challenging. “That’s why an influx of a new generation of highly trained and competent registered nurses is vital,” says De Jong.

“We can’t unilaterally solve the nursing shortage,” De Jong adds. “We’re fully aware that a 25% increase in our enrollment will barely put a dent in it. But we care about the people of Utah who need health care, and we’re doing our best to be responsive.”

In addition to new faculty, the College of Nursing will be seeking additional preceptors in community hospitals and clinics to oversee the 900 hours of clinical experience required for each nursing student prior to graduation.

“We’re grateful to our health care partners within the Salt Lake Valley for doing their best to accommodate the experiential aspects of our nursing education,” says Krahulec. “As we expand, their continued support in providing clinical placements that ensure our students are exposed to a multitude of caregiving situations is fundamental.”

Enrollment for the summer 2022 semester has been filled, and the fall 2022 application cycle is closed. Spring 2023 semester applications are due by September 1, 2022, and fall 2023 applications are due by February 1, 2023. The deadline for summer 2023 applications will be announced soon.

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