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Esther I Bernhofer

Esther I. Bernhofer

PhD, RN-BC

Nurse Researcher, Office of Research and Innovation,
Cleveland Clinic Health System

Executive Summary

Esther I. Bernhofer, PhD, RN-BC, is a nurse researcher for Cleveland Clinic’s Office of Research and Innovation. Dr. Bernhofer’s program of research is in inpatient pain management. With more than 30 years in the nursing profession in a variety of clinical roles, many of her accomplishments have ultimately been centered on caring for patients who are struggling with pain and helping them to manage it. Prior to her current position, Dr. Bernhofer worked throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system as a pain education specialist within the nursing quality and safety team, a pain management and education coordinator within the areas of inpatient medicine and digestive disease, and as a pain resource nurse within general medicine.

Before joining the Cleveland Clinic organization in 2005, Dr. Bernhofer fulfilled roles in homecare and medical/surgical nursing, and Lamaze and child birthing. She has worked for organizations such as Kelley Homecare Services in Independence, Ohio, Marymount Hospital in Garfield Heights, Ohio, and the Visiting Nurse Association in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Bernhofer has a passion for continuing education and professional development, and as a researcher, is always in pursuit of new knowledge. In 2012, she was honored with the Clinical Practice award from the American Society for Pain Management Nursing.

Education

  • Ph.D. in Nursing, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 2012
  • B.S.N. to Ph.D, Master’s bridge studies, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 2008
  • B.S.N., University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, 1981

Certifications

  • Board Certified Registered Nurse (RN-BC) in Pain Management Nursing, American Nurses Credentialing Center

Leadership

Dr. Bernhofer is the nursing pain management expert that other healthcare colleagues turn too. She follows a leadership style that encourages her colleagues to remember that their efforts – whether it’s the research work they are doing, the direct interaction they have with a patient, or the way in which they are educating one another – have the potential to positively impact at least one patient, which is reward in and of itself. A forward-thinker, Dr. Bernhofer has been able to progress pain management services at Cleveland Clinic by coordinating quarterly pain management education classes, establishing a nursing pain mentor program, creating a pain awareness day, and by mentoring and providing nurses with evidence-based practice information to assist them in helping patients manage pain.

Clinical Practice

Dr. Bernhofer’s clinical experience lies within the areas of pain management, homecare and medical/surgical nursing.

Teaching

Dr. Bernhofer is an avid mentor and educator, teaching nurses throughout Cleveland Clinic health system by way of the organization’s quarterly pain management education classes, as well as various nursing research workshops. She also offers additional educational instruction, support and guidance through the continuous pain education initiatives her team has established, such as a new nurse orientation class in Cleveland Clinic’s Digestive Disease Institute.

Research, Publications & Presentations

With a number of research studies and publications produced throughout her career, Dr. Bernhofer is well-versed in the creation of evidence-based works designed to positively impact the healthcare industry. Focusing most of her work within the area of pain management, Dr. Bernhofer’s written pieces such as ‘hospital lighting and its association with sleep, mood and pain in medical inpatients’ have appeared in scholarly journals like the Journal of Advanced Nursing as well as other publications. For example, The Plain Dealer and Reuters also featured Bernhofer’s hospital lighting piece. Additionally, she is a local and national presenter and has spoken at numerous industry association conferences and organization meetings.

View a selection of her work.

Research

2013. Principal Investigator. The pain experience of patients hospitalized with inflammatory bowel disease. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

2013. Principal Investigator. An analysis and advancement of the concept of rest in healthcare. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

2013. Co-Investigator. Is patients’ window view during hospitalization associated with psychological profile (depression, anxiety, or hostility) and clinical outcomes? Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

2012. Principal Investigator. The moral distress experience in bedside nurses managing pain: a secondary analysis. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

2011. Principal Investigator. Light, sleep, mood, and pain in medical inpatients. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

2011. Principal Investigator. Bedside nurses’ response to pre-existing chronic pain: a qualitative grounded theory study. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

2007-2009. Research Assistant/Intervention Provider. Promoting resourcefulness in grandmothers raising grandchildren. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.

2006-2008. Principal Investigator. Patient and nurse perception of stress related factors in the hospital bedspace environment. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Publications

Bernhofer E, Sorrell J. Nurses managing patients’ pain may experience moral distress. 2013. [Manuscript submitted for publication]

Bernhofer E, Higgins PA, Daly BJ, Burant CJ, Hornick TR. Hospital lighting and its association with sleep, mood, and pain in medical inpatients. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2013.

Siedlecki S, Modic M, Bernhofer E, Sorrell J, Strumble P, Kato I. Exploring how bedside nurses care for patients with chronic pain: a grounded theory study. Pain Management Nursing. 2013; Mar 2. pii: S1524-9042(12)00189-0. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2012.12.007. [Epub ahead of print]

Bernhofer E, Sorrell J. Chronic pain in older adults. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing. 2012; 50(1), 19-23. doi:10.3928/02793695-20111213-03

Bernhofer E. Ethics and pain management in hospitalized patients. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. October 2011; 17(1). DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol17No01EthCol01

Presentations

“Medical inpatients with pain: light exposure and sleep patterns may matter” at the American Pain Society annual meeting; New Orleans, Louisanna; May 9, 2013, and at the Annual Nursing Research Conference, Cleveland Clinic; Cleveland, Ohio; May 6, 2013. [poster presentation]

“Moral distress in bedside nurses caring for patients with chronic pain: a secondary analysis” at the national conference of the Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS) annual conference; Chicago, Illinois; March 9, 2013.

Bernhofer, E. & Higgins, P. A., “Describing light, sleep, mood, and pain in medical inpatients” at the national conference of the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science; Washington, DC.; September 14, 2012.

“Shedding light on an overlooked population: medical inpatients with pain” at the annual conference of the American Society for Pain Management Nurses (ASPMN); Baltimore, Maryland; September 14, 2012. [break-out session presentation]

Bernhofer, E. & Modic, M. “Exploring how bedside nurses care for patients with chronic pain” at the annual conference of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN); Salt Lake City, Utah; October 5, 2012. [break-out session presentation]

Bernhofer, E., Siedlecki, S., Modic, M., Strumble, P., et al. “Bedside nurses’ response to pre-existing chronic pain: a qualitative grounded theory study” at Midwest Nursing Research Society annual conference; Columbus, Ohio; March 26, 2011, and at the Annual Nursing Research Conference, Cleveland Clinic; Cleveland, Ohio; May 6, 2011. [poster presentation]

Bernhofer, E., Adler, P., Satava, M. E., & Bena, J. “Patient and nurse perception of stress related factors in the hospital bedspace environment” at the Research Showcase, Case Western Reserve University; Cleveland Ohio; April 16, 2009, and the Midwest Nursing Research Society annual conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota; March 29, 2009, and the Annual Nursing Research Conference, Cleveland Clinic; Cleveland, Ohio; March 29, 2009. [poster presentations]

Bernhofer, E., Lin, G., Omar, A., & Soon, M. “The benefits of an educational intervention program on functional status of elderly post hip replacement surgery patients” at the Research Showcase, Case Western Reserve University; Cleveland, Ohio; April 16, 2009. [poster presentation]

Good, M., Anderson, G. C., Wotman, S, Albert, J. M., Cong, X., Chiang, L., & Bernhofer, E. “Effectiveness of relaxation/music and patient teaching for pain management on salivary cortisol” at the American Pain Society Annual Conference; Tampa, Florida; 2008, and at the Research Showcase, Case Western Reserve University; Cleveland, Ohio; April 15, 2008. [poster presentations]

Professional Involvement

  • Member, International Association for the Study of Pain; Section Member, Acute Pain and Pain Education
  • Member, American Society of Pain Management Nurses
  • Chair, Task Force to create local chapter, American Society of Pain Management Nurses
  • Co-chair, Education Committee, American Society of Pain Management Nurses
  • Member, Academy of Medical/Surgical Nurses
  • Member, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
  • Member, American Pain Society; Section Member, Nursing and Pain Management Education
  • Member, Midwest Nursing Research Society; Research Sections Member, Pain and Symptom Management
  • Member, Sigma Theta Tau International, Alpha Mu chapter
  • Reviewer, Journal of Advanced Nursing and McMaster University’s health information research unit

Honors & Awards

  • Clinical Practice Award, American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN), 2012
  • Nancy M. Albert Excellence in Nursing Research Award, Cleveland Clinic, 2011
  • Nurses Educational Funds Scholarship Winner for Doctoral Studies, 2011-2012
  • Graduate Assistantship in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellow, 2007-2010

Contact Information

Cleveland Clinic
Office of Research and Innovation
9500 Euclid Avenue / T3
Cleveland, Ohio 44195
216.445.5269
bernhoe@ccf.org