Five Penn State nursing faculty selected for Ohio State Innovation Fellowship

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Five of Penn State's Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing faculty were selected for the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Nursing’s 2023-24 Innovation Fellowship cohort, constructed to help selected fellows develop innovation skills and knowledge competencies using design thinking, emotional intelligence and innovation leadership approaches.

Christina Lightner, academic wellness coordinator and assistant teaching professor; Wendy Edgar, assistant teaching professor of nursing at Penn State Fayette; Amy Criscitello, nursing instructor at Penn State Altoona; Elizabeth Gatchell, simulation lab coordinator and assistant teaching professor at Penn State Altoona; and Susan Leight, research professor and director of leadership and innovation initiatives, will participate in the yearlong fellowship to bolster and develop their innovation research and enhance their own well-being.

Lightner, Edgar and Criscitello have been instrumental in the implementation and evaluation of the MINDSTRONG and MINDBODYSTRONG programs at Penn State, which aim to increase healthy lifestyle behaviors to decrease depression, anxiety, stress and burnout through evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral skills.

Building off this initiative, the group is developing a new collaborative project while in the fellowship: "Penn State WINNS: Penn State Wellness Innovations for Nese Nursing Students," a macro-view of integrating wellness and self-care into undergraduate curricula. As well, they are creating modular learning to meet one of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's (AACN) Core Competencies: personal, professional and leadership development entry-level, a specific commitment to personal health and wellness.

“To be accepted into the Ohio State Innovation Fellowship program to help to build our program is invaluable. We hope that it will give us some impetus behind what we're doing, aligning with the AACN and essentials and giving our students that toolbox for when they find themselves in a stressful situation.” said Lightner.

Gatchell is directing a project regarding creating synergistic mentoring relationships among nurse faculty specific to leveraging pedagogical resources, building and sustaining professional networks, and identifying best practices for new faculty development.

Leight’s project entails the design of an overarching Foresight Leadership and Innovation Institute, directed at building capacity of undergraduates and recent graduates to anticipate, navigate and engage in disruptive innovation in healthcare, while also building transformational leadership capacity in self and others. This work will amplify her ongoing efforts with the WE LEAD Leadership initiative in the college.

The five faculty members will kick-off their fellowship term at the cohort’s retreat, where the fellows will have the opportunity to connect with one another and start their innovation work through the discussion of an effective innovation project pitch, the design thinking process and how to prioritize creativity, and the relationship between innovation and well-being and why these relationships are critical to innovation success.

Click here for more information on the 2023-24 Ohio State Innovation Fellowship.