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Drs. Elizabeth Blunt and Michelle Kelly Inducted as Fellows of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Drs. Elizabeth Blunt and Michelle Kelly

Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing’s Clinical Professor Elizabeth Blunt, PhD, RN, FNP- BC, FAANP, director, Nurse Practitioner Programs (left), and Associate Professor Michelle M. Kelly, PhD, CRNP, CNE, FAANP, were inducted as fellows of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) at the organization’s FAANP ceremony in Orlando, Fla. June 23.

“The sustained, high-level contributions of Drs. Blunt and Kelly as advanced practice nurses, policy activists, professional leaders, and innovative educators and scholars are impressive. They are exemplars who are so well-deserving of this highest honor,” explains Donna S. Havens, PhD, RN, FAAN, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor.

The purpose of the AANP Fellows is to impact national and global health by engaging recognized nurse practitioners to lead new initiatives and support the AANP mission. Further, the FAANP program provides a forum to extend and enhance Fellows’ efforts to mentor and to facilitate leadership development of NPs. The efforts of Drs. Blunt and Kelly over the decades have led to meaningful improvements to healthcare and the nurse practitioner role.

Dr. Blunt is an engaged nurse practitioner faculty leader and innovative educator. She directs simulation activities to empower NPs to promote quality health care by continually evolving simulations to enhance the participant experience in the lab and in hands-on skills workshops. She has developed standardized patient simulations for the classroom, physical assessment lab, and clinical courses, as well as designed inexpensive, easily accessible models for minor procedures. These have resulted in peer-reviewed publications and national and international presentations. Her educational goals arise from her belief that active learners and learning-centered education provide an excellent framework for understanding, critical thinking and internalization of knowledge.

For nearly three decades, Dr. Blunt has travelled to Poland to advance nursing and the NP role, teaching physical assessment skills, evidence-based practice and leadership to nurse leaders and students. In 2006, she was awarded the Medal of Jagiellonian University for her endeavors in Poland and holds two visiting faculty positions at Polish Universities where she taught evidence-based practice to graduate nurses to prepare them for advancement of nursing in Poland. 

Dr. Blunt’s research is grounded in her teaching and clinical practice and her goals are to find the most effective ways to educate NPs to improve patient outcomes. Her largest and most impactful research was a 2010 3-year HRSA grant to prepare primary care NPs to care for patients with disabilities by integrating content into NP curricula.  Clinical teaching tools were developed and resulted in The Nurse Practitioner Disability Toolkit.  Several copies were sent to every NP program in the United States and dissemination of the research continues.

Dr. Kelly is an expert pediatric and neonatal nurse practitioner, nationally and internationally recognized as an authority on preterm birth outcomes across the lifespan. A prolific writer, and frequent conference presenter, her research contributes significantly to NP practice. Her dedication to mentorship of colleagues and nursing students at all levels, influences excellence in the NP profession. She is recognized for her leadership to the Pennsylvania-Delaware Valley Chapter of NAPNAP, and was selected as a Fellow in the Sigma, Experienced Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy.

Dr. Kelly’s research informs and improves care provided to people born preterm. Her research has spanned 20 years, includes 30 peer-reviewed publications, 5 non-peer reviewed publications, a foundational book chapter addressing the care of children born preterm, and over 300 citations of her work. As a Research Fellow at the University of Rhode Island, she participated in NIH-funded research focused on longitudinal outcomes of people born preterm. She is analyzing health care relevant longitudinal outcome data using growth modeling techniques and translating the data into actionable results to inform healthcare. Her work informs the care provided to people born preterm and their families and will provide directions for future research related to the experience of preterm birth.

Dr. Kelly’s research began with an award-winning three-manuscript series published in the Journal of Pediatric Healthcare (JPHC) in 2006. The manuscripts addressed the evidence-based care of infants born preterm when transitioning to primary care. In addition, she has also written the first evidence-based recommendations for addressing preterm birth history across the life-course, published in the Journal of Pediatric Healthcare (JPHC) in 2021, developed through secondary analysis of existing meta-analyses and systematic reviews.  The results of these reviews were disseminated as two age-defined umbrella reviews in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (Kelly & Griffith, 2019) and JPHC (Kelly & Griffith, 2020). The draft recommendations were vetted by an interdisciplinary group of providers from across the US and were described as the most extensive research effort to date to dissemination specific practice recommendations for people born preterm.