Michael A. Stawnychy, PhD, CRNP
Michael “Misho” Stawnychy, PhD, CRNP, studies how persons with chronic illness and their caregivers (care partners) successfully manage chronic illness together. As an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and a Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar, his goal is to enhance the health and wellbeing of diverse patients and caregivers through clinical practice, research and educating the next generation of nurses. Dr. Stawnychy also focuses on how to promote public trust in healthcare and the role of technology in maintaining healthy and changing unhealthy behaviors.
“Education, research, and clinical practice are inextricably intertwined, particularly for nurses. I am fortunate to be in an environment where all three thrive.”
- PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2021
- MSN, University of Pennsylvania, 2013
- BSN, University of Pennsylvania, 2010
Misho was a semi-finalist in the AppItUp innovation competition and continues to work on interactive solutions to improve chronic illness management and the caregiving experience. In addition, he has proposed nudges in the health system EMR to improve information transfer during the transition from acute to home health care.
Dr. Stawnychy has presented on health equity and person-centered care for sepsis survivors.
Dr. Stawnychy has lectured at the School of Nursing in several graduate courses including Current Issues in Health and Social Policy (NURS 5400) and Translating Research and Evidence into Practice (NURS 8510). He lectures on motivational interviewing for undergraduates, graduates, and practicing clinicians. He currently teaches Response to living with Chronic Illness (N8280).
Dr. Stawnychy’s program of research is guided by a dedication to improving chronic illness self-care with a focus on patient-caregiver dyad decision-making. A particular clinical interaction ignited his desire to understand why self-care decisions are made. By understanding the why, we could better support patients in making decisions that are consonant with their goals and provide caregivers with tools to support their contributions to caregiving. Dr. Stawnychy has published on interventions for dyads that incorporated autonomy-supportive skills taught to caregivers to improve patient outcomes. Contexts are experienced as autonomy supportive when they encourage self-determined, volitional decisions based on accurate perceptions of illness.
He has collaborated with research teams from the US, Middle East, Scandinavia and Italy on heart failure (HF) self-care studies including a virtual health coaching intervention to reduce stress and improve self-care of caregivers caring for persons with HF, caregiver’s contributions to self-care, the influence of gender, individual and relationship characteristics on self-care, characteristics of patients with HF who did not respond to motivational interviewing, and investigating how home care workers contribute to self-care. Additionally, he has authored reports and presented at international conferences on topics of national, state and organizational policies to promote equity & support employees who are also caregivers.
Dr. Stawnychy is co-Investigator on an NIH funded five-year implementation study to reduce sepsis readmissions and co-Principal Investigator on a study to examine patient and caregiver decision-making regarding post-acute care and chronic illness management.
As a clinician, Dr. Stawnychy witnessed interactions between patients and their well-intentioned caregivers that did not have their desired effects on changing behavior. Successful chronic illness self-management is not accomplished alone and requires lifestyle changes, frequent symptom monitoring, and self-care. Caregivers spend considerably more time with their family and friends than clinicians. Illnesses such as HF, diabetes, respiratory, and cardiovascular disease impose a significant burden on the persons with the illness, their caregivers and families. This burden and the prevalence of chronic illness are not distributed equally across households and communities. Dr. Stawnychy’s work adds to the growing body of knowledge about solutions to the challenges faced by caregivers while co-managing chronic illness in the dyad.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
In his position as Nurse Scientist at Princeton Medical Center, Dr. Stawnychy collaborates with staff nurses on clinical research. He has also led efforts to provide medical support for war-torn civilians in Ukraine.
Selected Career Highlights
- Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar
- Member, Research Committee
- Awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the Mayor of Los Angeles for his
- Neighborhood Council work
- Honored for his humanitarian efforts in Ukraine