Sean P Clarke, PhD, CRNP, FAAN
Adjunct Associate Professor

Contact Information
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-4217

Dr. Clarke began his career as a staff nurse in coronary care in Montreal, Canada and a faculty member in the undergraduate and graduate programs at the School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa in Canada. Following the receipt of a doctoral degree in nursing from McGill University in Montreal in 1998, he completed three years of postgraduate clinical and research training at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the standing faculty at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 2001 and, at that time, became the Associate
Director of the internationally-recognized Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, which has won numerous awards for its studies.

Dr. Clarke is Course Director for the fall sections of “Advanced Clinical Practicum, Theory and Clinical,” which are the final courses in the senior year of Penn’s BSN program. In addition to overseeing elective clinical placements and companion specialty seminars in N370/371, he runs a weekly lecture series which draws extensively on his and his colleagues' programs of research, introduces ideas about leadership and management in nursing and also deals with professional issues and legal, economic and political forces in health care. He says, “New graduates don’t have to be passive in relating to the healthcare system; if they understand research and trends, they can influence key decisions and perhaps become the leaders that reshape the system.”

Dr. Clarke is particularly interested in the impact of nurse staffing and organizational climate in hospitals on mortality and other adverse events in patients, and on occupational health issues (such as sharps injuries) in nurses. His current projects involve the relationship of organizational climate to safety issues in Pennsylvania hospitals, how nurse staffing and work environments in hospitals affects patient outcomes when patient volume is taken into consideration, and differences in access to and quality of hospital care for different racial and ethnic groups.

• Currently Funded Grants

• Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research


Dr. Clarke is Associate Director of Penn’s widely-regarded Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research and is a Senior Fellow of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and a Fellow of the Population Studies Center at Penn. In addition to serving on the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization’s national Nursing Advisory Council, he is an adjunct faculty member at the Université de Montréal, the largest university school of nursing in the French-speaking world.

Publications (select year)
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In Press  | More Publications 

As clinicians and the public are becoming more aware of quality and safety issues in health care, many trends are compelling policymakers worldwide to assess how hospitals are managed. As part of a team at Penn and an international group of researchers, using survey methods and a variety of large databases, I’m studying aspects of hospitals that make them good (safe) or bad (unsafe, unhealthy) places for both patients and nurses in order to figure out what about them needs to be changed.