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School of Health Research

Kristen Dickens, MBA, BSN, RN, CENP

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Clinical Assistant Professor
Clemson University School of Health Research
Prisma Health
Director, Nursing Practice Excellence


Kristen Dickens joined Prisma Health in 2009 and has been a registered nurse for over 20 years and is Nationally Certified Executive in Nursing Practice. In her current role as the Director of Nursing Practice Excellence, she is responsible for system-level standardization and developing and operationalizing system process improvement projects and committees to improve patient outcomes. Dickens has extensive experience in project management and her foundation in lean six sigma has served as the catalyst for many process improvements including enhancing bedside shift report and streamlining nursing workflows through the development of a virtual nursing program. She is a subject matter expert and internal presenter in her system and has presented her past work at a regional nursing excellence conference. Her clinical practice years were spent in emergency and trauma services and transplant. Dickens received her BA in Communications from George Mason University, her BSN from George Mason University, and her MBA in Healthcare Administration from Western Governors University. Dickens is passionate about nursing excellence, human resilience and contributing to the Nursing body of knowledge through healthcare innovative and leveraging strong academic partnerships. Dickens collaborated with Clemson Human Factors Engineering students to understand the key factors contributing to Nurse Manager burden. This work resulted in the award of a seed grant to continue this collaboration. Dickens also collaborates with academic institutions to support students in finding projects that increase efficiencies and help advance clinical care and healthcare delivery.

How their research is transforming health care

The cost of healthcare operations is steadily on the rise. A focus on improving patient flow can help reduce costs and improve patient care. Discharge delays can negatively impact all areas of hospital operations and efficient patient throughput. Dickens is Co-Principal Investigator for a research study that focuses on implementing a model that includes patients and families as full partners in the discharge planning process. Medication errors occur frequently in healthcare and their severity can range from minimal to catastrophic. A high number of interruptions can lead to medication errors. Dickens is the Co- Principal Investigator for a research study that examines the intervention of mindfulness, aromatherapy and visual cues to increase human resilience and decrease interruptions during the medication administration process. The demand for nursing services is outpacing the current supply of nurses. Virtual nurses are an innovative way to augment care provided by the bedside clinical teams. Dickens launched the first Virtual Care Partner program at Prisma Health which provides virtual nursing support to patients and the clinical bedside team. Dickens has plans to begin research on the program as she looks to scale the program across Prisma Health.

Health research keywords

Human factors engineering, nursing excellence, discharge times, medication administration, virual nursing

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