Watch videos about nursing research at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, and about division leaders' research focus areas.

Linda L. Chlan, Ph.D., R.N., ATSF, FAAN — Nursing Research in Rochester, Minnesota

At the core of the Mayo Clinic Nursing Research Division are Ph.D.-prepared nurses conducting care-focused, clinically relevant research to better serve patients.

Linda L. Chlan, Ph.D., R.N., ATSF, FAAN — My Interest of Study

Dr. Chlan's patient-centered research to improve care for patients receiving ventilatory support grew out of her time at the bedside in the intensive care unit.

Sherry S. Chesak, Ph.D., R.N. — My Interest of Study

Dr. Chesak's research on care for the caregiver addresses the increasing levels of stress and burnout of professional health care providers and lay or family caregivers across the nation.

Heidi L. Lindroth, Ph.D., R.N. — My Interest of Study

Nursing researcher Heidi L. Lindroth, Ph.D., R.N., describes her area of research and what motivates her goal to eliminate delirium in patients.

Hi, my name is Heidi Lindroth. I am a nurse scientist and practicing critical care nurse at Mayo Clinic.

My vision is a world without delirium. Delirium is a type of an acute brain failure that people experience after an acute event like a surgery, an infection or a traumatic event like a car accident.

Imagine, if your loved one went into the hospital for an elective surgery and while the surgery itself went well, they experienced delirium after surgery and their lives were forever changed. Delirium independently increases the risk of death, both in the hospital and after discharge.

People who experience delirium are more likely to need an institutional facility after discharge from the hospital instead of returning home. They are also more likely to experience declines in both their thinking (or cognition) and function.

In addition to all of this, it is a terrifying experience. A quote from one of my colleagues and a delirium survivor, Mark Hudson, illustrates his experience with delirium well. He says, "Words can't do justice to the horror, terror and fear I experienced while suffering from delirium."

Now my goal is to stop this from happening: to prevent delirium. I am collaborating with an amazing international team of scientists and clinicians, at Mayo Clinic and beyond, to reach this goal. My program of research focuses on anything that will move the needle toward that goal.

This includes the vulnerability to delirium, identifying at-risk individuals and predicting delirium. Building on all available evidence we strive to prevent delirium by finding innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions to individualize care and mitigate the symptoms and severity of delirium. In other words, identifying things that all of us can do and things that will work.

The patient is central to everything I do. I believe clinical care and research go together. We make our best advancements when we work as part of a team and that is why I am a team research scientist.

I received my Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a focus in neuroscience. My postdoctoral fellowship was at Indiana University where I trained in agile methodologies. And I am honored to be a part of Mayo Clinic. Thank you for listening.

Lori M. Rhudy, Ph.D., R.N. — My Interest of Study

Dr. Rhudy's neuroscience nursing research is aimed at better understanding how patients with neurological conditions experience and manage symptoms. She also studies how nurses use information to make decisions about patient care.

Hello, my name is Lori Rhudy, and I am a nurse scientist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

First and foremost, I am a neuroscience nurse. A few years before I was born, my grandfather had a severe and disabling stroke at age 50. I often took care of him while I was growing up. This experience set me on a path to nursing and ultimately, specializing in neuroscience nursing. Over the years, I have cared for patients with chronic neurologic conditions as they struggle with the consequences of their illnesses.

My research interests are in two related areas. First, I'm interested in the symptom experience of neuroscience patients and how they manage symptoms in the long term. Second, I study how nurses and other health care providers make decisions about patient care, including how they use and interpret information. This is critically important in understanding, for example, how providers use and interpret patient-reported outcomes in order to deliver self-management interventions.

My current work is primarily centered on stroke patients, particularly those of working age, adults up to age 64. There is, sadly, a growing number of patients in this age range having strokes. Older stroke victims may have more severe physical outcomes, but it is these younger stroke survivors who often have more difficulty with depressive symptoms, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbance and cognitive changes that persist over time. Because they live with these symptoms longer and must manage them during a time in which their priorities are focused on work and family life, young adult stroke survivors often experience lower quality of life.

My goal is to understand how these symptoms occur, especially how they change over time and the factors that influence a patient's ability to self-manage these post-stroke symptoms. This will allow us to identify interventions to improve symptoms through self-management. In the end, the goal is to improve stroke survivors' quality of life.

Many of the symptoms experienced by stroke survivors are common to other patient groups as well, such as those with cancer or other chronic illnesses. My hope is to build collaborations that will help further symptom science and self-management knowledge that can be broadly applied to nursing practice. Nurses are uniquely positioned to deliver interventions that can impact self-management.

My focus on clinical decision-making is closely aligned to my interest in symptoms. How nurses and other health care providers identify and act on cues in order to plan and deliver nursing care is essential to achieve patient outcomes, improve safety and advance evidence-based practice. Much of my work in this arena involves handoff communication as a source of cues that can drive care. We've also looked at patient preferences for exercise in the setting of advanced cancer, patient and provider decision-making at end of life, and factors influencing nurse care coordinators' work.

Thank you for letting me tell you a little bit about my program of research. Please reach out to me if you have questions or wish to collaborate.

Cindy Tofthagen, Ph.D., ARNP, AOCNP, FAANP, FAAN — My Interest of Study

Dr. Tofthagen's research addresses toxicities of cancer therapies — including psychosocial concerns — and decision-making at end of life.