Breanna Hetland, PhD, RN, CCRN-K

Assistant Professor


University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)
College of Nursing - Omaha Division
985330 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-5330

Phone: 402-559-5460



  • 2010, BSN, Southern Illinois University
  • 2015, PhD, University of Minnesota


Dr. Hetland is an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing. She graduated summa cum laude from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2010. She obtained her PhD in nursing with a minor in Integrative Therapies and Healing Practices from the University of Minnesota in 2015. Her work has been federally supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research through a Ruth L. Kirschstein F31 Predoctoral Fellowship as well as a T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship in Symptom Management and Palliative Care Research in Adults with Advanced Disease, which she completed at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in 2017.


Dr. Hetland’s research focuses on improving the patient and family experience with critical illness by engaging patients and their family caregivers in integrative therapies for the self-management of distressing symptoms in the intensive care unit.

Research Interests

  • (2018-present). Animal assisted interactions with an animal robot during physical and occupational therapy sessions in the Pediatric ICU: A feasibility study. UNMC Pediatric Cancer Research Group. Role: Principal Investigator
  • (2017-present). Evaluation of a Web-Based Intervention to Promote Family Caregiver Engagement in Symptom Assessment and Management during Mechanical Ventilation. American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Role: Principal Investigator
  • (2017-present). An exploration of psychophysiological factors that influence family caregivers' willingness to participate in patient care in the intensive care unit. American Nurses Foundation. Role: Principal Investigator
  • (2015-2017). Validation of a Dual Process Model for Surrogate Decision Making. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Role: Research Assistant (Hickman, R PI)
  • (2014-2015). Influence of Auditory Stimulation on Anxiety in Weaning from Mechanical Ventilation. National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Nursing Research. Role: Principal Investigator
  • (2012-2015) Testing the Feasibility of Patient-Controlled Sedation in Ventilated ICU Patients. NIH, National Institute of Nursing Research. Role: Research Assistant (Chlan, L PI)
  • (2009-2010) Interdisciplinary Student Beliefs Related to Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Holistic Health. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities' Program. Role: Principal Investigator


Data-driven manuscripts; † Synthesis manuscripts; Editorials; Clinical Guidelines; Case Studies

!Hetland, B., Hayes, S. M., Skaar, D., Tracy, M.F., Weinert, C., Chlan, L. L. (2018) Letting the patient decide: A case report of sedative self-administration during mechanical ventilation Critical Care Nurse, 38(1), 17-23.

*Hetland, B., McAndrew, N., Perazzo, J., & Hickman, R. (2018). A qualitative study of factors that influence active family involvement with patient care in the ICU: Survey of critical care nurses. Journal of Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 44, 67-75.

!Hetland, B., Bailey, T., Prince-Paul, M. (2017). Animal Assisted Interactions to Alleviate Psychological Symptoms in Patients on Mechanical Ventilation. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing, 19(6), 516-523.

*Guttormson, J., Chlan, L., Tracy, M.F., & Hetland, B. (2017). Changes in Nurses Attitudes and Self-Reported Sedation Administration Practices: 2005 to 2016. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 195, A7666.

*Hetland, B., Hickman, R. McAndrew, N. & Daly, B. (2017). Factors that influence active family engagement in care among critical care nurses. AACN Advanced Critical Care, 28(2), 160-170.

View all publications »


Dr. Hetland’s unique clinical experiences include a summer-long (2008) study abroad medical trip with World Learning© where she explored integrative health and healing practices in China and Tibet and a Summer III Externship (2009) in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She has over 5 years of experience as a critical care nurse at Methodist Medical Center in Peoria, IL and the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN.

2018-present: UNMC Institutional Review Board Member (alternate).

2017-present: Founding Member and Co-Chair of the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science’s (CANS) Early Career Special Interest Group.

2017-present: Chair-elect, Acute and Critical Care Research Interest Group, Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS).

2016-present: American Thoracic Society’s (ATS) International Nursing Research Priorities: CARES Working Group.

2016-present: Manuscript Reviewer for Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2016-present).

2015-present: Manuscript Reviewer for Heart & Lung: The Journal of Acute and Critical Care.

2014-2017: MNRS Emerging Scholar’s Network (ESN) Co-Chair.

2011-2014: Inaugural ESN representative to the MNRS Board of Directors.

2010: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Spring Commencement Speaker.


2016: Dissertation Award, Acute and Critical Care Research Interest Group, MNRS.

2015: Abstract Award, Nursing Assembly, ATS.

2014 & 2015: American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Professional Development Scholarship

2006-2010: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) Chancellor’s Scholar