faculty profile

Ruth Kleinpell   PhD, RN, FAAN, FAANP, FCCM

Independence Foundation Professor of Nursing Education
Associate Dean for Clinical Scholarship, Professor


Dr. Kleinpell has conducted research related to advanced practice nursing roles, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on intensive care unit (ICU) clinicians, and patient outcomes in hospitalized older adults. She has also conducted research focusing on outcomes after ICU treatment and role development of acute care nurse practitioners, among other funded studies. She served as lead PI on a national survey assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on over 7,000 advanced practice nurses nationally.  Additionally, she served as PI on a series of international surveys with over 14,000 ICU clinicians examining changes in ICU care as a result of the pandemic. She served as PI on a PCORI funded 2-year initiative to promote patient-centered outcomes research in ICU settings, using a national collaborative with 63 hospital ICU teams to implement patient and family centered initiatives. As the Associate Dean for Clinical Scholarship, she serves as a mentor to junior faculty for clinical scholarship and research initiatives, collaborates on Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) clinical projects, and provide consultation to the VUMC advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) for various scholarship initiatives. She also serves as PI for a national collaborative through the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Office of Advanced Practice for a national Choosing Wisely- APRN initiative and for a therapeutic music in the ICU initiative at VUMC .


  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification, American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • CCRN Certification, American Association of Critical Care Nurses
  • ACLS, American Heart Association

Current Research/Scholarly Interests

  • Roles and scope of practice of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in acute care settings
  • Outcomes of advanced practice nursing care
  • Promoting patient and family centered care research


Improving Care for Critically Ill Patients & Families Through Research Dissemination & Implementation. Funded by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Role: PI)

Demonstrating the Outcomes of Nurse Practitioner Care Using a National Collaborative. Funded by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Fellows (Role: PI)

Disseminating Patient Centered Outcomes Research to Healthcare Professionals. Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality R18. (Role: PI)  

Discharge Planning and Home Telehealth for Post CABG Elders. Funded by the Agency for Health Care Quality & Research & National Institute of Aging RO1. (Role: PI)

Exploring Outcomes After Critical Illness in the Elderly. Funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research R29. (Role: PI)

Representative Publications


Kleinpell R, Kapu A, Abraham L, et al. The Use of National Collaborative to Promote APRN-led High-Value Care Initiatives. Nursing Outlook, 2020, 626-636. 

Abraham C, Kleinpell R, Godwin KM, Dolansky MA. The interprofessional Veterans Affairs Quality Scholars program pre- and postdoctoral nurse fellow outcomes Nursing Outlook 2020;1-10. 

Kleinpell R,  Ferraro D, Maves RC, et al.  COVID-19 pandemic measures: Reports from a national survey of 9,120 ICU clinicians. Critical Care Medicine, 2020, DOI: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000004521 

Kaplan LJ, Kleinpell R, Maves RC, et al. Critical care clinician reports on coronavirus disease 2019: Results from a national survey of 4,875 ICU providers. Critical Care Explorations 2020;22(5):e0125. 

Kleinpell R, Moss M, Good VS, Gozal D, Sessler CN. The critical nature of addressing burnout prevention: Results from the critical care societies collaborative's national summit and survey on prevention and management of burnout in the ICU. Critical Care Medicine2020;48:249-253. 

Kleinpell RM, Grabenkort WR, Kapu AN, et al. Nurse Practitioners and physician assistants in acute and critical care: A concise review of the literature and data 2008-2018. Critical Care Medicine 2019;47:1442-1449. 

Kleinpell R, Zimmerman J, Vermoch KL, Harmon LA, Vondracek H, Hamilton R, Hanson B, Hwang DY. Promoting family engagement in the ICU: Experience from a national collaborative of 63 ICUs. Critical Care Medicine 2019; 47(12):1692-1698. 

Kleinpell R, Blot S. Boulanger C, Fulbrook P, Blackwood B.  International critical care nursing considerations and quality indicators for the 2017 surviving sepsis campaign guidelines.  Intensive Care Medicine Oct 2019: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00134-019-05780-1      

Kleinpell R, Heyland DK, Lipman J, et al. Patient and family engagement in the ICU: Report from the task force of the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine. Journal of Critical Care 2018;48:251-256. 

Kleinpell R, Kapu A. Quality Measures for NP Practice Evaluation. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2017;29:446-45.

Kleinpell R, Kapu A, Witherspoon B, et al. APRNs and the Choosing Wisely campaign. American Nurse 2017;12:14-17.

Kleinpell R, Buchman T, Harmon L, Nielsen M. Promoting Patient- and Family-Centered Care in the Intensive Care Unit: A Dissemination Project. AACN Advanced Critical Care. 2017; 28:155-159.

Rhodes A, Evans L, Alhazzani W...,Kleinpell R, et al. Surviving Sepsis Campaign: International Guidelines for Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock: 2016. Critical Care Medicine 2017;45:1-67.


Kleinpell R. Outcome Assessment in Advanced Practice Nursing. 5th Edition. NY: Springer Publishing, 2021 [4th edition published in 2017; 3rd edition published in 2013; 2nd edition in 2009, 1st edition in 2001]

Representative Presentations

Virtual presentations "Improving Practices in the ICU: Results of SCCM's Rapid Cycle Surveys", and "APP and Nursing Leadership in Critical Care Organization Development" Society of Critical Care Medicine Congress, Feb 3, 2021

Virtual presentation and discussion session," Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on APRN Practice: Results from a National Survey" American Academy of Nursing Policy Conference, Oct 29, 2020 

Keynote Presentation "Building Resilience: Strategies for Critical Care Clinicians" 2nd Annual Methodist Medical Center Critical Care Conference, January 18, 2020, Houston Texas

Paper Presentations "Maximizing Academic Clinical Partnerships: Key Strategies" and "Preparing Pre and Post Doctoral nurse fellows to lead healthcare transformation utilizing an interprofessional experience" at the AACN Doctoral Conference, Naples Florida, January 30, 2020

Keynote Presentation "Demonstrating Impact of DNP Practice: Essential Considerations" Rochester University College of Nursing Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) Conference, Nov 1, 2019 Rochester New York.

Paper Presentation "Resiliency and Beyond: Strategies for Enhancing Clinician Well-Being" at the American College of Chest Physician's Annual Conference, Oct 21, 2019; New Orleans LA.

Keynote Presentation, "Demonstrating Impact of Advanced Practice Provider Practice: Essential Considerations" Ohio State University Advanced Practice Symposium, Columbus Ohio September 13, 2019.

Keynote Presentation "Advancing Your Nurse Practitioner Career: What Is Your Next Step" National Nurse Practitioner Symposium, Keystone Colorado, July 18, 2019

Keynote Presentation "Translating Research Evidence to Impact Patient Care Outcomes" Alpha Mu Chapter Sigma Theta Tau and Wellstar Health System Inaugural Research Conference, Marietta Georgia, March 22, 2019

Keynote Presentation "Identifying Impact in the Advanced Practice Provider Role" Memorial Sloan Kettering Inaugural Advanced Practice Provider Conference" New York, New York, March 16, 2019

Invited Plenary "Promoting Collaborations for Research & Scholarship to Improve Health," American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Doctoral Conference, Naples Florida, January 16, 2018.

Paper Presentation "Applying Implementation Science: Development of a National Collaborative for Advancing Choosing Wisely to Doing Wisely," American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), Toronto Canada, Oct 29, 2017.

Invited Presentations "Implementing the ABCDEF Bundle in the ICU: Strategies for Team Based Improvements," "The Future of ICUs" and "Influencing Healthcare for Patients and Providers" at the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa Congress, Sun City South Africa, October 19-21, 2017.

Invited Presentations "Telehealth for ICU," "Team Based Care in the ICU," and "Updates in Sepsis Management: Current Issues & Controversies" at the 42nd Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society/Australian College of Critical Care Nursing Annual Scientific Meeting on Intensive Care, Gold Coast Australia, Oct 11-13, 2017.

Invited Presentations "Clinical Trials and New Developments in Intensive Care," "Keeping the Patient at the Center of Everything We Do," and "Adapting the Workforce to Demand Future Proofing" at the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine Congress, Vienna Austria, September 24-27, 2017.

Invited Presentation "Challenges in the Critical Care Management of Sepsis"at the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis Congress, July 7-12, 2017, Berlin Germany.

Invited Plenary "The new sepsis definitions: Implications for critical care practitioners" and paper presentations: "Conducting clinical research: strategies for success" and "Best of SCCM Congress" at the Chinese Society of Critical Care Medicine Congress, Xi"an China, May 25-28, 2017.

Invited Plenary: "Burnout in ICU health professions: Strategies for prevention" and paper presentations "The evolving role of advanced practice providers in the ICU" and "Implementing the ABCDEF Bundle in the ICU: strategies for team based improvements" at the Korean Society of Critical Care Medicine, Seoul Korea, April 21-22, 2017.

Invited Paper Presentations "Implementing the ABCDEF bundle in the ICU: Strategies for team-based improvements" and "Burnout in the health professions: strategies for prevention" at the 13th Emirates Critical Care Conference, Dubai UAE, April 6-8, 2017.

Invited Paper Presentation "The future of ICU: Influencing healthcare for patients and providers" at the Japanese Society of Critical Care Medicine, Sapporo Japan, March 8-10, 2017.

Invited Paper Presentation "Patient and family centered care in the ICU" at the European Federation of Critical Care Nursing Associations 7th Congress, Belfast Ireland, February 15-18, 2017.


  • Editorial Board, Critical Care Medicine
  • Editorial Board, Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners
  • Editorial Board, American Journal of Critical Care
  • Manuscript Reviewer: JAMA; American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine; Critical Care; Heart and Lung; AACN Clinical Issues: Advanced Practice in Acute and Critical Care; Journal of Medical-Surgical Nursing; Image: Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Research in Nursing and Health; Western Journal of Nursing Research

Professional Organizations

  • American Nurses Credentialing Center Board member, 2019-current;
  • Tennessee Nurses Association Political Action Campaign Board member, 2019-current
  • World Federation of Intensive and Critical Care Board member, 2019-current
  • American Academy of Nursing, Fellow 2002-present; Program Co-Chair 2010-2013; Board Member, 2014-2016
  • Institute of Medicine of Chicago, Fellow 2004-present; Board Member, 2014-2018
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Board Member, 2011-2016
  • Society of Critical Care Medicine, member 1998-present; Fellow 2005-present; Board Member, 2009-current; Program Co-Chair 2011; Secretary, 2013-2015; President-elect 2016; President 2017, Past President 2018
  • American Board of Internal Medicine, Critical Care Medicine Board, 2015-2018


  • Ingeborg Mauksch Excellence in Faculty Mentoring, 2021
  • European Society of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine Honorary Member, 2020
  • Society of Critical Care Medicine, Distinguished Service Award, 2019
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center Certified Nurse of the Year Award, 2019
  • National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Lifetime Achievement Award, 2017
  • Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame Award, 2012
  • Sigma Theta Tau International Practice Academe Innovation Award, 2011
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses Flame of Excellence Award, 2010
  • National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Research Award, 2010
  • Fellow, National Academies of Practice, 2020
  • Fellow, American College of Critical Care Medicine, 2005
  • Fellow, Institute of Medicine of Chicago, 2004
  • Fellow, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 2003
  • Fellow, American Academy of Nursing, 2002