Nicholas Nicholson of Cheshire, professor of nursing at Quinnipiac University, has received the Connecticut Nurses Association Diamond Jubilee Virginia A. Henderson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Nursing Research.
The award recognizes contributions and innovations in nursing research, which may include nursing theory, applied clinical research and related fields such as nursing history, medical anthropology, public health and health care economics.
Nicholson’s research focuses on reducing social isolation in older adults.
“Winning this award is so very meaningful to me,” Nicholson said. “To know that my program of research is being recognized by my peers in this way is so gratifying and inspiring. When I look at the list of those who have won in years past and their work, it is so humbling that I am sharing the same award with them.”
Nicholson is test piloting a program called “Zero Isolation,” which looks to reduce social isolation in older adults by training service providers and students in Connecticut and Rhode Island to recognize the warning signs. The pilot program is being supported by AARP Connecticut and AARP Rhode Island.
Nicholson’s recently-developed and tested social isolation scale is already in use with “Stay Connected,” a collaborative project with the state Department of Aging and Disability Services (ADS).
Using the social isolation scale, older adults and adults with disabilities who are identified as socially isolated — or at high risk for social isolation — are referred for training and support to improve their access to family, community and medical providers.
“Nick’s expertise in geriatrics and public health, coupled with his passion to improve the care of older adults, evolved into a program of scholarship that focuses on social isolation often experienced within this population,” said Cindy Barrere, chair of faculty development and director of nursing research at Quinnipiac.
“His groundbreaking work in social isolation was impressive in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Barrere said. “Nick’s recently-developed and tested social isolation assessment scale is already in use to screen older adults for social isolation and allocate effective resources through grant funds available.”
Nicholson is a recognized authority in social isolation research who has presented his work locally and nationally.
“We are proud to have Dr. Nicholson as our colleague,” said Lisa O’Connor, dean of the School of Nursing. “He has made significant contributions to nursing research, combining his expertise in geriatrics and public health to focus on social isolation in older adults. His work is admirable and positively impacts the older adult population”
After receiving his Ph.D. in nursing from Yale University in 2010, Nicholson completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in geriatric clinical epidemiology and aging-related research at the Yale School of Medicine. He previously earned master’s degrees in nursing and public health from the University of Connecticut.
Nicholson is a board-certified clinical nurse specialist in public/community health. Nicholson’s research examines the factors that lead to social isolation in older adults and uses those findings to develop interventions to mitigate social isolation.
His clinical work includes nursing experience in cardiac telemetry, cardiac post-access, medical/surgical and public/community health nursing. Nicholson has published research articles about social isolation topics such as concept analysis, state of the science, predictors, psychometric evaluation and interventions.
His additional research interests include psychosocial and chronic disease epidemiology, social support, social networks, animal assisted therapy, residential relocation and transitions.