faculty profile

Ruth Kleinpell   PhD, ACNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP, FNAP, MCCM

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


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 is currently serving as project director for a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)-funded initiative focusing on addressing barriers to patient and family engagement in intensive care unit (ICU) research. 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 Co-I for a therapeutic music in the ICU initiative at VUMC .

Addressing Barriers to Patient Centered Outcomes Research


  • 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

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


Addressing Barriers to Engaging Patient & Caregivers Experiencing Critical Illness to Build Capacity for Patient Centered Outcomes Research. Funded by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Role: PD) 

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


Schorr CA, Seckel MA, Papathanassoglou E. Kleinpell R. Nursing implications of the updated 2021 surviving sepsis campaign guidelines. American Journal of Critical Care 2022: 31:329-336

Stolldorf P, Schirle L, Kleinpell R, Foster Akard T, Piano MR. Assessing postgraduate outcomes of research-intensive nursing science PhD programs: Methods and metrics. Nursing Outlook 2022;S0029-6554.

Williams T, Hande K, Kleinpell R.  Linking process improvement with DNP projects: Strategies to advance clinical leadership initiatives. Nurse Leader. DOI: 10.1016/j.mnl.2022.04.010 

Schlesinger J, Pearson M, O'Briant D, Yang S, Li J, Bose J, Kleinpell R. "Implementing a Therapeutic Music Program in the Intensive Care Unit Journal of Intensive and Critical Care 2022;57dd4d924e6407dc

Kleinpell R, Myers CR, Likes W, Schorn M. Breaking Down Institutional Barriers to Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Practice. Nursing Administration Quarterly 2022;2:137-143.

Gast S, Barroso J, Blanchard F., Kleinpell R.  "Critical Care Nurses' Experiences of Caring for COVID-19 Patients: Results of a Thematic Analysis" American Journal of Critical Care e1-9. https://doi.org/10.4037/ajcc2022784

Hasselblad M, Morrison J, Kleinpell R. et al. "Promoting Patient and Nurse Safety: Testing a Behavioral Health Intervention in a Learning Healthcare System" Results of the DEMEANOR Pragmatic, Cluster, Cross-over Trial. BJM Open Quality 2022;11:1

Schorn M, Myers CA, Barroso J, Kleinpell R.  "Results of a National Survey: Ongoing Barriers to APRN Practice in the United States. Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice, 2022, 2:118-129.

Kleinpell R, Grabenkort WR, Boyle WA, Vines DL, Olsen KM. The society of critical care medicine at 50 years: Interprofessional practice in critical care: looking back and forging ahead. Critical Care Medicine 2021;49:2017-2032.

Hasselblad J, Morrison J, Kleinpell R. et al. Promoting Patient and Nurse Safety: Testing a Behavioral Health Intervention in a Learning Healthcare System: Results of the DEMEANOR Study. In Press, BJM Quality and Safety. 2022:11:e001315. 

Kleinpell, R, Kennedy BB, Piano MR, Norman LD. Advancing Clinical Scholarship among Clinician Educators with a Faculty Scholarship Program. Journal of Professional Nursing 2021;37(6):1187-1190.

Nasa P, Azoulay E, Chakrabarti A, Divatia JV, Jain, R., Rodrigues C, .. Kleinpell R?.. & Myatra SN.   Infection control in the intensive care unit: expert consensus statements for SARS-CoV-2 using a Delphi method. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2021; https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(21)00626-5

Jones P, Walker J, Kleinpell R, George A, Norman L. Showcasing nursing leadership and contributions to a university's COVID-19 student contact tracing process. Nursing Administration Quarterly 2021;45:346-352.

Kleinpell R, Myers C, Schorn M, Likes W. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on APRN practice: Results from a national survey. Nursing Outlook 2021 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2021.05.002        

Heitschmidt M, Staffileno BA, Kleinpell R. Implementing a faculty mentoring process to improve academic-clinical partnerships for nurse led evidence-based practice and research projects. Journal of Professional Nursing 2021;37:399-403.

Peer-reviewed publications:  https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0142-7527


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

Keynote presentation "Restoring Our Passion: Focusing on Nurse Well-being". Tennessee Nurses Association Annual Meeting, Oct 9, 2022, Cool Springs TN

Podium Presentation "Using a Learning Healthcare System to Advance Nursing Research" Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, Sept 26, 2022, Washington DC

Keynote presentation "Strategies for Creating a Healthy Work Environment for Women in Medicine" Women in Medicine Symposium, Sept 10, 2022, Chicago Illinois

Podium presentation "Addressing APRN Barriers to Practice: Solutions and Strategies" National Nurse Practitioner Symposium, July 22, 2022, Keystone Colorado.

Podium presentation "Addressing APRN Barriers and Scope of Practice Restrictions" American Association of Critical Care Nurses National Teaching Institute, May 18, 2022 Houston TX

Virtual presentation "Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on APRN Practice: Results from a National Survey". National Council of State Boards of Nursing APRN Roundtable April 12, 2022

Paper presentation "Doctor of Nursing Practice Project Matching Made Easy: Identifying Academic and Clinical Healthcare Setting Opportunities" National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Conference, Minneapolis MN, April 8, 2022.

Virtual presentation" Promoting Nursing Research: Strategies for Success" Nursing Research Symposium, Innovations in Clinical Inquiry: Reaching Toward Health Equity, co-sponsored by Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Lurie Children's Hospital, March 10, 2022

Virtual presentation " Advancing Practice Improvement in Academic and Clinical Healthcare Settings by Matching DNP Projects" American Association of Colleges of Nursing Doctoral Conference January 21, 2022

Virtual presentation "Understanding Practice Improvement for DNP Projects" National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, November 2021.

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


  • Editorial Board, Critical Care Medicine
  • 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; Image: Journal of Nursing Scholarship; Research in Nursing and Health;
  • Editorial Board, Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (2010-2022)

Professional Organizations

  • Tennessee Nurses Association Political Action Campaign Board member, 2019-current
  • World Federation of Intensive and Critical Care Board member, 2019-2023
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center Board member, 2019-2022
  • 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


  • Legacy Award, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2022
  • Master of Critical Care Medicine, American College of Critical Care Medicine, 2022
  • Sigma Theta Tau International Lucie S. Kelly Mentorship Award, 2021
  • 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