AACN Distinguished Research Lecturer explores her role as nurse scientist

August 17, 2020

In her role as the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) 2020 Distinguished Research Lecturer, Karen Giuliano, a University of Massachusetts Amherst associate professor, has examined her "unconventional journey" from caring for patients at the bedside to challenging precedent in critical care to medical device design and innovation.

Giuliano's paper, published in the American Journal of Critical Care, describes her 35-year nursing career, leading to her current joint position with the College of Nursing and the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), where she heads up a product development laboratory.

"My goal is to share lessons learned and to help participants to see the many different ways that critical care nursing knowledge can be used to improve patient care," Giuliano writes.

In addition to publishing her paper, the journal posted a video interview with Giuliano discussing her experiences and perspective in critical-care nursing.

She writes, "My nursing practice has always included a propensity to play with ideas and do things differently, and my practice and clinical research interests are largely driven by a passionate desire to improve the delivery of care for nurses and the experience of care for patients and their families."

Giuliano emphasizes the importance of developing medical products in cooperation with bedside caregivers. "Nurses, especially critical care nurses, are in a unique position to identify and address everyday health care issues, challenge assumptions and the status quo, address unrecognized and unarticulated needs, and ensure that clinical outcomes research serves as the foundation for validating the effectiveness of medical product innovation," she writes.

After 15 years as a critical care nurse, Giuliano spent 13 years with Philips Healthcare, focusing on developing multiparameter patient monitors. In her academic role at UMass Amherst, "My hope is to cultivate productive and fun interdisciplinary collaborations, especially with business and engineering colleagues, deepen and share my passion and ability to contribute to person-centered, humanistic patient care, and expand my capacity to develop and mentor the next generation of nurses."

Giuliano is also collaborating with an Indiana-based startup, Recovery Force, to lead the clinical testing of a portable active-compression system designed to improve patient mobility and prevent deep vein thrombosis. The research is funded by a $1.8 million National Institutes of Health Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research grant.

University of Massachusetts Amherst

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