February 2024

Liza Behrens, PhD, RN

Developing a Program for Decision-making In aging and dementia for autonomy (DIGNITY)

In December, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute KL2 program scholar Liza Behrens, PhD, RN, and others presented the Activities Strong Virtual Winter Gathering session “There is Dignity in Risk-taking: Developing a Program for Decision-making In aging and dementia for autonomy (DIGNITY).”

The session focused on developing programs for decision-making and weighed positive risk-taking versus surplus safety and their impacts on personal growth and quality of life in nursing home communities.


“No matter what we do, we impact residents’ dignity,” Behrens said. “Dignity of risk in eldercare refers to empowering an individual’s ability to make choices and remain autonomous in decision-making, which may give rise to risk-taking that subsequently enhances personal growth and quality of life.” Behrens noted, “if we can help people engage in risk-taking, we can improve their quality of life and wellbeing.”

To read more about this exciting research click on this link: DIGNITY

Kirby Leigh Baker, RN, BSN, MSN, AG-ACNP

I chose nursing as my major for job security and the ability to experience a multitude of options without having to change careers or degrees was extremely appealing. Currently, I am co-chair of the DSO (Doctoral Student Organization).

In the future, I will continue to work as a nurse practitioner on the heart and lung transplant team at Johns Hopkins and hope to expand into a leadership role after completing the DNP program.

On a personal note, I have a dog named Ginny (as in Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter). Honestly, I don’t have any spare time. I have a three-year-old, work full-time and am in the DNP program. These activities and more keep me busy.

Advice to new students is to find a healthcare institution that values education and has tuition benefits. I was able to have my MSN and now DNP almost completely paid for by my employer.


Sending out a Hip Hip Hooray to these folks for

hitting 2024 on a high note


Berish, Diane., Kuzmik, Ashley. E., & Boltz, Marie. (2024). Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and adverse patient outcomes post-hospitalization. Aging & Mental Health. The link to the article can be found HERE

Research Award

Hackenberger, Abbygale & Birriel, Barbara. (2024). Examining the Impact of Intensive Care Unit Diary Programs on Critical-Care Nurses. American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). $49,999

Did You Know?

Finding funding opportunities shouldn't be difficult

  • You can easily find research opportunities using Funding@PennState.
  • NIH has a Central Resource for Grants and Funding Information at

Find Grant Funding

myResearch Portal

To help manage your external award finances, please look into the myResearch Portal. For those of you with internal funding, you may need to coordinate with the finance office in the college that has that funding account. Feel free to reach out to the CNR with additional questions you may have.

Join us for this year’s Inspirational Speaker Series featuring Dr. Daniel Pesut, PhD, RN, FAAN, Emeritus Professor of Nursing, University of Minnesota and Indiana University, School of Nursing. Dr. Pesut is globally recognized for his leadership legacy contributions to nursing, STTI established the International Daniel J. Pesut Spirit of Renewal Award in his honor.


Dr. Pesut will deliver his lecture titled “Principles and Practices of Legacy Leadership” followed by a Q&A. The event will wrap up with a reception and poster presentation by current WE LEAD students. 


Hosted on March 15, 2024, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., attendees are invited to join us in-person at the Wyndham Garden State College at the Mountain View Country Club or via livestream. Advanced registration is required and 1.5 contact hours are available. 


For more information and to register, visit: https://www.nursing.psu.edu/event/we-lead-inspirational-speaker-series/


Center for Nursing Research Office provides an organized infrastructure designed to support graduate research faculty and their interdisciplinary teams throughout the various stages of their projects, from preparing proposals and obtaining funding to disseminating results in peer-reviewed journals and at national and international conferences. If you have any questions use the resource list below.

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