Kelly L. Wiltse-Nicely, PhD, CRNA
In the operating suite, Kelly L. Wiltse Nicely not only practices her expertise as a clinical nurse anesthetist but often explores the parameters of her research and scholarship. Dr. Wiltse Nicely’s research focuses on the importance of optimizing organizational systems related to nursing and advanced practice nurses as a way to improve patient outcomes in acute care settings.
“My questions for research come from what I see clinically as a nurse anesthetist, and my research helps me be a better educator.”
- PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2010
- MSN, University of Pittsburgh , 2005
- BSN, University of Pittsburgh , 2001
Dr. Wiltse Nicely teaches undergraduate and graduate nursing students, integrating her clinical experience in anesthesia and critical care into the classroom.
A specialist in cardiac/critical care anesthesia, Dr. Wiltse Nicely began studying organizational nursing systems while conducting her dissertation research on the associations between surgical volume and nursing organization in patient outcomes after abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. Though the organization of nursing care had often been shown to be associated with improved patient outcomes, the impact was not as clear in so-called volume-outcomes’ effects in hospitals with higher volumes of a specific surgery, such as abdominal aortic aneurysm repair.
With support from the NIH and a National Institute of Nursing Research Training Grant in Nursing Outcomes, Dr. Wiltse Nicely studied data that included over 25,000 nurses and over 20,000 patients undergoing abdominal aortic aneurysm repair at 517 hospitals. In 2010, Dr. Wiltse Nicely concluded that favorable nursing practice environments in hospitals with higher volumes of these repairs are definitely associated with lower mortality and fewer failures-to-rescue (death after a treatable complication).
Anesthesia Delivery Model and Patient Outcomes
Dr. Wiltse Nicely’s recent research has also focused on anesthesia delivery models and how they relate to patient outcomes. In a 2011 to 2012 study, Dr. Wiltse Nicely examined the comparative effectiveness of various sedation techniques for Medicare patients undergoing colonoscopy. Preliminary reports from that research are due to be published later in 2016. Under another grant funded from 2014 to 2016 by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation, Dr. Wiltse Nicely is investigating anesthesia delivery models and their econometric impact in California hospitals.
Dr. Wiltse Nicely’s research topics are grounded in her experiences as a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where she maintains an active clinical practice and provides comprehensive anesthesia services. She is also the nurse scientist there, working as a mentor, resource and guide to nurses interested in clinical research.
Selected Career Highlights
- President and Member, Board of Trustees, Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists
- Representative, Institute of Medicine Forum for Global Interdisciplinary Health Care Education and Best Practices
- Nursing Leader Representative, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists to the Joining Forces Initiative for Nurses
- Editorial Board, International Student Journal of Nurse Anesthesia
- Faculty Mentor, Doctoral and Masters’ degree students at University of Pennsylvania