Give Online: Help shape patient care for generations to come.

Esther I. Bernhofer

Esther I. Bernhofer

PhD, RN-BC

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

Executive Summary

Esther I. Bernhofer, PhD, RN-BC, CPE is a Senior Nurse Researcher in the Office of Nursing Research and Innovation. Dr. Bernhofer’s program of research is in acute and chronic pain management, pain management education, values-based practice, and rest. With more than 35 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. She is a member of several professional organizations, serves in leadership roles and speaks several times a year at national, regional, and local conferences and education settings.

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
  • Certified Pain Educator (CPE), American Society of Pain Educators (ASPE)

Leadership

Dr. Bernhofer is the nursing pain management expert that other healthcare colleagues turn to. 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 at Cleveland Clinic by coordinating pain management education classes across the enterprise, establishing a nursing pain mentor program, and by mentoring and providing nurses with evidence-based practice information to assist them in helping patients manage pain. Dr. Bernhofer has served in leadership roles in professional organizations such as the American Society for Pain Management Nursing and the American Pain Society and continues leading in the research and development of new evaluation instruments that measure clinicians’ pain management knowledge and values.

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 pain management education classes, nursing research workshops, and nursing grand rounds. She also offers additional educational instruction, support and guidance through pain education initiatives, new nurse orientation classes and guest lectures at local organization and Cleveland Clinic events.

Research, Publications & Presentations

With numerous 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 of patients. 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.

2016

Research

2016. Principal Investigator. Pain management education for nurses using simulation versus traditional lecture: a comparative parallel group design study. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

2016. Principal Investigator. Values – Based Pain Management: A New Model and Measure. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Publications

Bernhofer, E.I., Hosler, R. & Karius, D. (2016). Nurses’ written responses to pain management values education: a content analysis. Pain Management Nursing, 17(6) 384-391. doi.org/10.1016/j.pmn.2016.08.007

Bernhofer, E.I. (2016). Moving past traditional nursing research program barriers toward success. In N. M. Albert (Ed.), Building and Sustaining a Hospital-Based Nursing Research Program (151-166). New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Bernhofer, E.I. (2016). Investigating the concept of rest for research and practice. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(5), 1012–1022. doi: 10.1111/jan.12910

Presentations

"Values-Based Decision Making in Pain Management: A Narrative Review of the State of the Science." Poster presentation at the annual conference of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) on September 9, 2016, Louisville, KY.

"The interpretation of values education in a pain management class: a phenomenological study." Poster presentation at American Pain Society annual meeting on May 12, 2016, Austin, TX.

2015

Research

2015. Principal Investigator. Testing the Reliability, Validity and Other Psychometric Properties of the Newly- Constructed Essential Professional Nursing Practices (EPNP) Instrument. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

2015. Principal Investigator. Psychometric Evaluation of New Clinical Pain Knowledge Test. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio and University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.

2015. Co-Investigator. Reliability and validity testing of the American Pain Society's Pain Outcome Questionnaire Revised (APS-POQ-R) in pediatric patients. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Publications

Bernhofer, E.I., Masina, V., Sorrell, J. M., & Modic, M. (2015). The pain experience of patients hospitalized with inflammatory bowel disease: a phenomenological study. Gastroenterology Nursing, doi: 10.1097/SGA.0000000000000137.

Bernhofer, E.I. (2015). Reviewing the literature: essential first step in research, quality improvement, and implementation of evidence-based practice. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 31(4), 191-196.

Bernhofer, E., & Sorrell, J. M. (2015). Nurses Managing Patients’ Pain May Experience Moral Distress. Clinical Nursing Research, 24(4) 401–414. doi: 10.54773814533124.

Presentations

"Helping Nurses Discover Their Values, Beliefs, and Pain Management Approach for Better Pain Care." Podium presentation at the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) on September 19, 2015, Atlanta, GA.

"Pain and Pain Management Research: Challenges and Opportunities." Podium presentation at the Cleveland Clinic Annual Nursing Research Conference, April 27, 2015, Aurora, OH.

"Investigating the Concept of Rest for Practice and Research." Poster presentation at the national conference of the Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS), April 19, 2015, Indianapolis, IN.

2014

Research

2014. Principal Investigator. Self-reflection of nurses and their written responses to pain management values education. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Publications

Saksa, L., & Bernhofer, E. (2014). Prevalence of surgical site infection comparing postoperative negative pressure and conventional dressings. Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing, 3(3), 94-95.

Bernhofer, E. (2014). (248) The pain management education gap: a common reason for frustration in bedside nurses and hospitalized patients with pain. Journal of Pain, 4(15), S38.

Presentations

"Lighting in the Hospital Environment: Can Changes Provide for a Better Patient Experience?" Podium presentation at the Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience: Empathy and Innovation Summit, May 20, 2014, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Oh.

"Making Pain Management Education Work by Focusing on Nurses’ Values & Culture." Podium presentation at the annual conference of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) on September 20, 2014, San Diego, CA.

"The Pain Management Education Gap: A Common Reason for Frustration in Bedside Nurses and Hospitalized Patients with Pain." Poster presentation at American Pain Society annual meeting on May 2, 2014, Tampa, FL.

2013

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.

Publications

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. 70(5), 1164–1173. doi: 10.1111/jan.12282

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.

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.

2012

Research

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

Publications

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

Presentations

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]

Professional Involvement

  • Member, International Association for the Study of Pain; Section Member, Acute Pain and Pain Education
  • Chair of Education Committee, American Society of Pain Management Nurses
  • Member, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science
  • Lead Nurse Planner, Education Advisory Board, 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 , Clinical Nursing Research, Pain Management Nursing, and McMaster University’s health information research unit

Honors & Awards

  • American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) Research poster award winner, 2016
  • Faces of Care Award,  Cleveland Magazine, 2016
  • 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 Nursing Research and Innovation
9500 Euclid Avenue / P33
Cleveland, Ohio 44195
216.445.5269
bernhoe@ccf.org