Kathleen McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHA

Professor Emerita of Cardiovascular Nursing

As Penn Nursing’s associate dean for academic programs from 2006-2015, Kathleen McCauley led and collaborated on efforts that resulted in top tier rankings for nursing education at all levels.

This included the review, development, and implementation of an innovative undergraduate program that emphasizes the integration of theoretical knowledge and clinical experience and has become a national model for 21st century undergraduate nursing education. 

Continually improving outcomes in nursing education and clinical care is crucial. This has been the focus of my career. 


  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 1990
  • MSN, University of Pennsylvania, 1977
  • BSN, University of Pennsylvania, 1974


Impact on Cardiac Patients and Nursing Students  

At HUP, Dr. McCauley helped develop systems to improve care for cardiac patients and those requiring resuscitation. Currently, she is involved in mentoring staff nurses around conducting research and publishing results, and supporting projects such as the hospital’s Magnet re-designation. 

Dr. McCauley taught in Penn Nursing’s undergraduate and master’s programs. For 15 years, she served as course director for the undergraduate Advanced Senior Practicum Leadership course (NURS 370/371). She also taught content on heart disease, particularly in women, transitional care, and healthy work environments in the undergraduate and master’s programs.  


Throughout her career, Dr. McCauley has also contributed to cutting-edge research, including the development, implementation, and study of an innovative model for transitional care. As a clinical specialist in cardiovascular nursing at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), she focused on improving patient outcomes. 

Clinical Practice

Dr. McCauley also contributed to evaluating and refining all of the master’s programs to ensure that they met the Consensus regulatory model of advanced practice and collaborated with faculty to develop new programs, including post MSN programs that enable advanced practice nurses to meet the model’s requirements.  At the doctoral level, Dr. McCauley partnered with faculty on revisions to make the PhD program more competitive and in developing the Doctor of Nursing Practice for Nurse Anesthetists program. 

Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing

Although Dr. McCauley officially retired in July 2016, she continues her research as the clinical member of the Transitional Care Model research program and some administrative and mentoring work at HUP. Led by Mary D. Naylor, PhD, FAAN, RN, the Transitional Care Model is a cost-effective advanced practice nurse-led model to improve the transitions of older adults who are navigating complex and often fragmented systems of care. Dr. McCauley’s clinical practice has informed this research, and she contributed to the development of the intervention protocols for many research grants. She is a member of Penn Nursing’s NewCourtland Center for Transitions in Health.  

Under a grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, researchers at Penn and other sites are identifying which transitional care services and outcomes matter most to patients and caregivers, evaluating the comparative effectiveness of efforts to improve care transitions, and developing recommendations on best practices for the care transition programs.  As part of the Penn team, led by Dr. Naylor, Dr. McCauley collaborated with researchers from other sites that identified 130 key strategies in transitional care. She worked with the team that winnowed these down to 26 strategies that matter most and plans to publish the findings. Dr. McCauley also participates in other parts of the project, such as developing surveys to help determine the needs of patients and caregivers and site visits to health systems offering care transition programs. 

Selected Career Highlights

  • Fellow, American Academy of Nursing and Council on Cardiovascular Nursing  
  • Past president and board member, American Association of Critical Care Nurses  
  • Recipient, Dean’s Award for Exemplary Citizenship, Penn Nursing  
  • Recipient, Expert Alumni Award for Clinical Excellence, Penn Nursing Society of the Alumni

Accepting Mentees?

  • Yes

Accepting Fellows?

  • Yes

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