University of Nebraska Medical Center

Michele Balas, PhD, RN, CCRN-K, FCCM, FAAN

Dorothy Hodges Olson Chair in Nursing
Associate Dean for Research
Professor, UNMC College of Nursing


Michele Balas, PhD, RN, CCRN-K, FCCM, FAAN
Dr. Balas PhD, RN, CCRN, FCCM, FAAN is currently the Associate Dean of Research and Dorothy Hodges Olson Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing. Born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Balas received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Wilkes University. She later received her Masters of Science in Nursing, PhD, and Post-doctoral training from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Dr. Balas is an implementation scientist and registered nurse with extensive training and experience in the conduct of clinical trials and mixed-methods research in the intensive care unit and hospital setting.
  • 1992, BA, Wilkes University – Wilkes-Barre, PA
  • 1992, BS, Wilkes University – Wilkes-Barre, PA
  • 1997, MSN, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2005, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
Research Interests

The overarching goal of Dr. Balas’ program of research focused on improving the physical, functional, cognitive, and quality of life outcomes of seriously ill older adults. Her research endeavors specifically target developing, testing, and translating safe and effective interprofessional interventions aimed at reducing common geriatric syndromes including hospital-acquired pain, delirium, weakness, falls, and infections. Dr. Balas’ work has been supported by numerous federal and private/philanthropic organizations including the National Institute of Health, John A. Hartford Foundation Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Pre- and Post-Doctoral Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative, Alzheimer’s Association, Select Medical, and American Association of Critical Care Nurses. Her influence in transforming team-based, hospital care of older adults and commitment to developing and testing evidence-based interprofessional interventions is also evident in her prolific publication record and leadership roles in numerous professional healthcare societies. She was a former committee member and now Co-Chair of the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM’s) Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Pain, Agitation/Sedation, Delirium, Immobility, and Sleep Disruption in Adult ICU Patients, an invited participant of the NIH’s Implementation Science in Critical Care Workshop, and chair/study section member of various NIH review panels. She is also an active member of the American Academy of Nursing’s Expert Panels on Aging and Acute/Critical Care, American Psychiatric Association Guideline Writing Group, Gerontological Society of America, and editorial board member/reviewer for various medical journals.

Research Interests

  • Gerontology
  • Critical Care
  • Dissemination and Implementation Science
  • Delirium
  • Symptom Science
Grant Support
  • April 2023-March2028Source: National Institute of Health: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Institute of Nursing Research. Title: Behavioral Economic and Staffing Strategies To Increase Adoption of the ABCDEF Bundle in the ICU (BEST-ICU), Award Amount: $6,594,013, Role: Michele Balas (PI)
  • July 2023-June 2025Source: UNMC Faculty Diversity FundTitle: Remote Assessment of Social Connectedness Between Rural Dementia Patients and Family Caregivers Using Laboratory in a Suitcase Assessment (LISA), Award Amount: $100,000, Role: Co-I
  • September 2022-April 2024Source: National Institute of Health: National Institute of Nursing ResearchTitle: PARITY: An integrated community care and strengths-based technology intervention to improve maternal wellness and reduce health disparities in Black women, Award Amount: $318,000, Role: Co-I
  • April 2021-April 2026Source: National Institute of Health: NICHDTitle: Clinical Effectiveness of the PICU Up! Multifaceted Early Mobility Intervention for Critically Ill Children: A Pragmatic, Stepped-wedge Trial, Award Amount: $3,851,268, Role: Co-I
  • May 2019-April 2023Source: National Institute of Health: National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteTitle: Determinants of Implementation Success Coordinating Ventilator, Early Ambulation and Rehabilitation Efforts in the ICU, Award Amount: $1,151,920, Role: MPI
  • May 2019-April 2022Source: Source: National Institute of Health: National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteTitle: Determinants of Implementation Success Coordinating Ventilator, Early Ambulation and Rehabilitation Efforts in the ICU (Supplement), Award Amount: $156,000, Role: PI
  • July 2018-July 2021Source: American Association of Critical Care Nurses Impact Research GrantTitle: Reiki Intervention for Seriously Ill Elders in the ICU, Award Amount: $50,000, Role: PI
  • Dunn, H., Balas, M.C., Hetland, B., Krupp, A. (2022). Post-Intensive Care Syndrome: A Review for the Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Nurse Practitioner. 47(11):15-22
  • Balas, M.C., Tan, A., Mion, L.C., Pun, B., Jun, J., Brockman, A., Mu, J., Ely, E.W., Vasilevskis, E.E. (2022). Factors Associated with Spontaneous Awakening Trial and Spontaneous Breathing Trial Performance in Critically Ill Adults: Analysis of a Multicenter, Nationwide, Cohort Study. Chest. Jan 19;S0012-3692(22)00055-1; PMID: 35063453 https://doi.org/ 10.1016/j.chest.2022.01.018
  • Lawson, T., McNett, M., Balas, M.C. (2022). A Scoping Review of the Incidence, Predictors, and Outcomes of Delirium Among Critically Ill Stroke Patients. Journal of Neuroscience Nursing. 54(3): 111-115. https://doi.org/10.1097/JNN.0000000000000642 [doi.org]
  • Balas, M.C., Tan, A., Pun, B.T., Ely, E.W., Carson, S.S., Mion, L.C., Barnes-Daly, M.A., Vasilevskis. E.E. (2022). Effects of a National Quality Improvement Collaborative on Implementation of Evidence-Based Intensive Care Unit Interventions: A Time Series Analysis. American Journal of Critical Care.31(1): 54-64. https://doi.org/10.4037/ajcc2022768
  • Balas, M.C., Brockman, A. (2021). Ask the Experts Column: Methods to Prevent Self-Extubation in the ICU. Critical Care Nurse.
  • Ward, D., Absalom, A., Aitken, L.M., Balas, M.C., Brown, D, Burry, L., et al. (2021). Design of Clinical Trials Evaluating Sedation in Critically Ill Adults Undergoing Mechanical Ventilation: Recommendations from SCEPTER III. Critical Care Medicine.
  • Balas, M.C., Tate, J., Tan, A., Pinion, B., Exline, M. (2021). Evaluation of the Perceived Barriers and Facilitators to Timely Extubation of Critically Ill Adults: An Interprofessional Survey. Worldviews Evidence Based Nursing. PMID: 33555122.
  • Balas, M.C., Needham, D.M., Kudchadkar, S.R. (2021). Early Mobilization in a PICU: A Qualitative Sustainability Analysis of PICU Up! Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. 22(4):e233-e242.
  • McNett, M., O’Mathuna, D., Tucker, S., Roberts, H., Mion, L.C., Balas, M.C. (2020). A Scoping Review of Implementation Science in Adult Critical Care Settings. Critical Care Explorations. 2(12):e301
  • Nist, M.D., Harrison, T.M., Tate, J., Robinson, A., Balas, M.C., Pickler, R.H. (2020). Losing Touch. Nursing Inquiry. 27:e12368. doi.org/10.1111/nin.12368. (Invited commentary)
  • DeMellow, J.M., Kim, T.Y., Romano, P.S. Drake, C., Balas, M.C. (2020). Factors Associated with ABCDE Bundle Adherence in Critically Ill Adults Requiring Mechanical Ventilation: An Observational Design. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing. Vol (60).
  • Carmen Mabel Arroyo-Novoa, Figueroa-Ramos, M.I., Balas, M.C., Rodríguez, P., Puntillo, K.A. (2020). Opioids and Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome in Trauma Intensive Care Unit Patients: A Prospective Exploratory Study. Critical Care Explorations. 2(4).
  • Lawson T. N., Tan, A., Thrane, S. E., Happ, M. B., Mion, L. C., Tate, J., Balas, M. C. (2020). Factors Associated with the Transition to Physical Restraint Use in Critically Ill Adults. American Journal of Critical Care. 29(2), 92-101.
  • Kruser, J.M., Aaby, D.A., Stevenson, D.G., Pun, B.T., Balas, M.C., Barnes-Daly, M.A., Lori Harmon, L., Ely, E.W. (2019). Assessment of Variability in End-of-Life Care Delivery in Intensive Care Units in the United States. JAMA Network Open. 2(12):e1917344.
  • Thrane, S.E., Hsieh, K., Donahue, P., Tan, A., Exline, M. C., Balas, M. C. (2019). Could Complementary Health Approaches Improve the Symptom Experience and Outcomes of Critically Ill Adults? A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 47:102166.
  • Balas, M.C., Barnes-Daly, M.B., Byrum, D.G., Pun, B.T., Posa, P.J., Puntillo, K.A. (2019). Nurses Role in Implementing the ABCDEF Bundle (Response). Critical Care Nurse. 39(3), 14-15.
  • Balas, M.C., Pun, B.T., Pasero, C., Engel, H.J., Perme, C., Esbrook, C.L., Kelly, T., Hargett, K.D., Posa, P.J., Barr, J., Devlin, J.W., Morse, A., Barnes-Daly, M.A., Puntillo, K., Aldrich, J.M., Schweickert, B., Harmon, L., Bryum, D.G., Carson, S.S., Ely, E.W., Stollings, J.L. (2019). Common Challenges to Effective ABCDEF Implementation: The ICU Liberation Campaign Experience. Critical Care Nurse. 39(1), 46-6.
  • Stollings, J.L., Pun, B.T., Puntillo, K. A.,Kelly, T., Hargett, K.D., Devlin, J.W., Morse, A., Esbrook, C., Engel, H.J., Perme, C., Barnes-Daly, M.A., Posa, P., Aldrich, J.M., Barr, J., Schweickert, B., Ely, E.W., Balas, M.C. (2019). Implementing the ABCDEF Bundle: Top Eight Questions Asked During the ICU Liberation ABCDEF Bundle Collaborative. Critical Care Nurse. 39(1); 36-45.
  • Pun BT, Balas, M.C., Ely EW. (2019). The Trouble With Delirium-Pitfalls of Measurement in Critical Illness (Reply) Critical Care Medicine. 47(4):e382.
  • Pun, B.T., Balas, M.C., Pun, B.T., Barnes-Daly, M.A., Thompson, J.L., Aldrich J.M., Barr, J., Byrum, D., Carson, S.S., Devlin, J.W., Engel, H.J., Esbrook, C.L., Hargett, K.D., Harmon, L., Hielsberg, C., Jackson, J.C., Kelly, T.L., Kumar, V., Millner, L., Morse, A., Perme, C.S., Posa, P.J., Puntillo, K.A., Schweickert, W.D., Stollings, J.L., Tan, A., Ely, E.W. (2019). Caring for Critically Ill Patients with the ABCDEF Bundle: Results of the ICU Liberation Collaborative. Critical Care Medicine. 47(1), 3-14.
  • Balas, M.C., Weinhouse, G.L., Denehy, L., Chanques, G., Rochwerg, B., Misak, C., Skrobik, Y., Devlin, J.W., Fraser, G. (2019). Interpreting and Implementing the 2018 Pain, Agitation, Delirium, Immobility, and Sleep (PADIS) Clinical Practice Guidelines. Critical Care Medicine. 46(9); 1464-1470.
  • October 2023. National Institute of Health. NHLBI virtual workshop “Enhancing Implementation of Guidelines and Evidence-based Care in Clinical and Community Settings (ENGAGE).”, Co-Chair
  • November 2022. National Institute of Health. Special Emphasis Panel (SEP): Topics in Health Services & Clinical Informatics Research. 2023/01 ZRG1 HSS-B (90) S, Member
  • March 2022. National Institute of Health. NIH/CSR Healthcare Delivery and Methodologies (HDM) Integrated Review Group, Special Emphasis Panel., Ad Hoc Reviewer.Editorial Board Member: American Journal of Critical Care Nursing, Heart & Lung: The Journal Cardiopulmonary & Acute Care
  • 2023-Present. American Association of Critical Care Nurses National Healthy Work Environment Collaborative. Co-Chair
  • 2023-Present. American Academy of Nursing. Acute and Critical Care Curation Goals. Committee Member.
  • 2021-Present. Intensive Care Medicine Rapid Practice Guideline for Dexmedetomidine. Committee Member.
  • 2021-Present. American Psychiatric Association Guideline Writing Group. Committee Member.
  • 2021-Present. Society of Critical Care Medicine. PADIS Guideline Committee. Co-Chair.
  • June 2021-Present. The National Fuld Implementation Science Advisory Board, The Ohio State University College of Nursing.
  • December 2019. Florida Hospital Association- Hospital Improvement Network (HIN). Subject Matter Expert ABCDEF Bundle.
  • August 2019. NQF Quality Measure Incubator ®: Postoperative Delirium Strategy Session. Invited Participant.
  • June 2019. Sedation Consortium on Endpoints and Procedures for Treatment, Education, and Research (SCEPTER-III) Clinical Trials to Evaluate Patient-Centered Outcomes of Sedation in Mechanically Ventilated Patients in the Adult ICU. Invited Participant.
  • February-December 2019. H3C- Development of comprehensive geriatric assessment tool for chronic care management. Consultant.
  • January 2017-2019. Ohio Hospital Association- Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) Subject Matter Expert.

National Institute of Health:

  • RFA-HL 21-001 Hybrid effectiveness Implementation trials for heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases in the inpatient setting (U01-Clinical trials required). (April, 2021). Role: Chair.

Awards Committee. Society of Critical Care Medicine. Reviewer.

  • AACN Research Grant. Reviewer.
  • Expert Panel on Aging. American Academy of Nursing. Committee Member.
  • Expert Panel Acute and Critical Care. American Academy of Nursing. Committee Member.
  • Discovery Steering Committee. Society of Critical Care Medicine. Committee Member.
  • ABCDEF Bundle Collaborative. Society of Critical Care Medicine. Grant support provided by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Steering Committee Member.
  • U.S. Critical Illness and Injury Trials Group. Steering Committee Member.
  • Nursing Section. Society of Critical Care Medicine. Committee Member.
  • Sedation-Agitation Section. Committee Member. New Pain, Agitation, Delirium Early Mobilization, and Sleep guidelines effort. Society of Critical Care Medicine. Committee Member.Quality and Safety Research Committee. Society of Critical Care Medicine. Committee Member/Chair
  • ICU Liberation Initiative Conference Task Force. Society of Critical Care Medicine. Co-Chair.
  • ICU Liberation Committee. Society of Critical Care Medicine. Committee Member.
  • Scientific Review Committee. Society of Critical Care Medicine. Committee Member.
  • Research Section Member. Society of Critical Care Medicine. Committee Member.
  • 2023, UNMC Scientist Laurate Award
  • 2023, Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) Best of SCCM Congress Presentation Award “The Power of Engagement”
  • 2022, Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) Best of SCCM Congress Presentation Award “Nonpharmacologic Management and Nursing Care of Refractory ICU Delirium”
  • 2016, 2018, 2019 Presidential Citation Award, Society of Critical Care Medicine