Victoria Vaughan Dickson

Victoria Vaughan Dickson


Associate Professor
Director, Pless Center for Research

1 212 992 9426

433 First Avenue
Room 742
New York, NY 10010
United States

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Professional overview

Victoria Vaughan Dickson, RN, FAAN, FAHA, FHFSA, PhD, is the program director of the NIOSH-funded doctoral training program in occupational and environmental health nursing and an associate professor in the Rory Meyers College of Nursing. She is recognized as an international expert in qualitative research techniques and mixed methods research and has conducted training to interdisciplinary teams locally, nationally, and internationally. With extensive clinical and research experience in cardiovascular and occupational health nursing, her research program focuses on investigating the bio-behavioral influences on self-care in patients with cardiovascular disease including heart failure and multiple comorbidity; and evaluating the effectiveness of self-care interventions on health outcomes. Her work has led to an improved understanding of the sociocultural influences of self-care among vulnerable populations, including older workers, women, and ethnic minority groups and the development of innovative theory-based interventions.

Dickson holds a clinical appointment as an advanced practice nurse in the division of cardiology at the NYU Langone Medical Center and the Bellevue Hospital.

Dickson earned her PhD and MSN from the University of Pennsylvania and BSN from Temple University.


PhD - University of Pennsylvania
MSN - University of Pennsylvania
BSN - Temple University


Non-communicable disease

Professional membership

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
American Academy of Nursing
American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
American Heart Association
American Nurses Association
Council on the Advancement of Nursing
Eastern Nursing Research Society
European Society of Cardiology
Gerontological Society of America
Heart Failure Society of America
New York Academy of Medicine
New York Nurse Practitioners Association
Sigma Theta Tau, XI Chapter
Sigma Theta Tua International Honor Society

Honors and awards

Faculty Honors Awards

Associate Editor, Cardiovascular Nursing (2018)
President-Elect, Eastern Nursing Research Society (2018)
Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine (2018)
President-Elect, Eastern Nursing Research Society (2017)
Fellow, Heart Failure Society of America (2016)
President-Elect, Eastern Nursing Research Society (2016)
Associate Editor to Circulation, Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes (2016)



Does unit culture matter? The association between unit culture and the use of evidence-based practice among hospital nurses

Jun, J., Kovner, C. T., Dickson, V. V., Stimpfel, A. W., & Rosenfeld, P. (2020). Applied Nursing Research, 53. 10.1016/j.apnr.2020.151251

Nursing Home Eligible, Community-Dwelling Older Adults’ Perceptions and Beliefs About Sleep: A Mixed-Methods Study

McPhillips, M. V., Dickson, V. V., Cacchione, P. Z., Li, J., Gooneratne, N., & Riegel, B. (2020). Clinical Nursing Research, 29(3), 177-188. 10.1177/1054773819849348
Sleep disturbances are highly prevalent in older adults; little is known about sleep in those who remain living in the community despite qualifying for nursing home placement. We conducted a concurrent, nested, mixed-methods study to describe sleep characteristics and sleep disturbances in this population. Our final sample (n = 40) was Black (100%), female (85%) older adults with a mean (±SD) age of 72 ± 9.5 years. Of these, 35 had objectively measured short or long sleep duration, and 30 had subjectively reported poor sleep quality. Our evidence suggests that sleep disturbances are common in this group, and these older adults had adjusted their expectations and adapted to their sleep disturbances. Given that at-risk older adults may not perceive their sleep disturbances as problematic, clinicians must proactively assess sleep and educate about the importance of sleep. These results reveal modifiable factors with potential to improve health outcomes in this vulnerable population.

Organization of Work Factors Associated with Work Ability among Aging Nurses

Stimpfel, A. W., Arabadjian, M., Liang, E., Sheikhzadeh, A., Weiner, S. S., & Dickson, V. V. (2020). Western Journal of Nursing Research, 42(6), 397-404. 10.1177/0193945919866218
The United States (U.S.) workforce is aging. There is a paucity of literature exploring aging nurses’ work ability. This study explored the work-related barriers and facilitators influencing work ability in older nurses. We conducted a qualitative descriptive study of aging nurses working in direct patient care (N = 17). Participants completed phone or in-person semi-structured interviews. We used a content analysis approach to analyzing the data. The overarching theme influencing the work ability of aging nurses was intrinsically motivated. This was tied to the desire to remain connected with patients at bedside. We identified factors at the individual, unit-based work level and the organizational level associated with work ability. Individual factors that were protective included teamwork, and feeling healthy and capable of doing their job. Unit-based level work factors included having a schedule that accommodated work-life balance, and one’s chronotype promoted work ability. Organizational factors included management that valued worker’s voice supported work ability.

Patient and Cardiologist Perspectives on Shared Decision Making in the Treatment of Older Adults Hospitalized for Acute Myocardial Infarction

Grant, E. V., Summapund, J., Matlock, D. D., Vaughan Dickson, V., Iqbal, S., Patel, S., Katz, S. D., Chaudhry, S. I., & Dodson, J. A. (2020). Medical Decision Making, 40(3), 279-288. 10.1177/0272989X20912293
Background. Medical and interventional therapies for older adults with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) reduce mortality and improve outcomes in selected patients, but there are also risks associated with treatments. Shared decision making (SDM) may be useful in the management of such patients, but to date, patients’ and cardiologists’ perspectives on SDM in the setting of AMI remain poorly understood. Accordingly, we performed a qualitative study eliciting patients’ and cardiologists’ perceptions of SDM in this scenario. Methods. We conducted 20 in-depth, semistructured interviews with older patients (age ≥70) post-AMI and 20 interviews with cardiologists. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using ATLAS.ti. Two investigators independently coded transcripts using the constant comparative method, and an integrative, team-based process was used to identify themes. Results. Six major themes emerged: 1) patients felt their only choice was to undergo an invasive procedure; 2) patients placed a high level of trust and gratitude toward physicians; 3) patients wanted to be more informed about the procedures they underwent; 4) for cardiologists, patients’ age was not a major contraindication to intervention, while cognitive impairment and functional limitation were; 5) while cardiologists intuitively understood the concept of SDM, interpretations varied; and 6) cardiologists considered SDM to be useful in the setting of non-ST elevated myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) but not ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI). Conclusions. Patients viewed intervention as “the only choice,” whereas cardiologists saw a need for balancing risks and benefits in treating older adults post-NSTEMI. This discrepancy implies there is room to improve communication of risks and benefits to older patients. A decision aid informed by the needs of older adults could help to better convey patient-specific risk and increase choice awareness.

That was a game changer: clinical impact of an emergency department-based palliative care communication skills training workshop

Wright, R., Hayward, B., Kistler, E., Vaughan Dickson, V., & Grudzen, C. (2020). Emergency Medicine Journal, 37(5), 262-264. 10.1136/emermed-2019-208567
OBJECTIVE: To explore the impact of an adapted goals-of-care communications skills workshop created for ED physicians from the physicians' perspective. METHODS: Semi-structured, one-on-one audio-recorded interviews lasting 30-60 min were conducted with twelve physicians who had completed the training workshop. Interviews explored the experience of undertaking the workshop, its impact on their clinical practice and their ability to teach new skills to other clinicians using learnt techniques. Descriptive content analysis was performed on interview transcripts. RESULTS: Participants reported positive experiences of the workshop. The analysis identified four main themes and ten subthemes dealing with workshop content and its impact on subsequent ED-based clinical practice. There were: 1) value and future improvements for the course; 2) value of the course to practice; 3) value of the course for teaching residents and 4) barriers to application of learning. Specifically recommended components include the use of mnemonics, mechanisms to introduce difficult conversations and a positive feedback environment. Participant-recommended refinements to the workshop included emphasising urgency, replicating the chaotic ED environment and expanding content to include more ED-focused goals-of-care discussions. CONCLUSION: A short, focused training workshop directed at improving palliative care communication skills among ED clinicians appears to be welcomed and useful.

Validity and reliability of the self-care of hypertension inventory (SC-HI) in a Brazilian population

Silveira, L. C. J., De Maria, M., Dickson, V. V., Avila, C. W., Rabelo-Silva, E. R., & Vellone, E. (2020). Heart and Lung, 49(5), 518-523. 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2020.02.048
Background: Poor self-care in patients with hypertension is associated with worse patient outcomes. The Self-Care of Hypertension Inventory (SC-HI) measures self-care in patients with hypertension and includes three scales: self-care maintenance, which measures adherence to prescribed treatments and behaviors; self-care management, which evaluates the responses to signs and symptoms of high blood pressure; and self-care confidence, which measures self-efficacy in dealing with the entire process. Objective: To test the psychometric characteristics of the Brazilian version of the SC-HI. Methods: We enrolled a sample of 360 patients with hypertension and performed confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to test the factorial structure of the SC-HI and computed the factor score determinacy coefficient to evaluate the SC-HI internal consistency reliability. Results: The sample was predominantly female (65%), mean age of 65 years (SD = 10), white (70%). The self-care maintenance scale resulted in a unidimensional scale, with supportive fit indices (CFI = 0.901, RMSEA = 0.048); the self-care management did not reflect the original factorial structure and had unsupportive fit indices. EFA showed a different factorial solution in reference to the original study. Finally, the self-care confidence scale resulted in a unidimensional scale with supportive fit indices (CFI = 0.940, RMSEA = 0.093). The reliability of the self-care maintenance, management, and confidence scales resulted in factor score determinacy coefficients of 0.83, 0.78, and 0.97 respectively. Conclusion: This study shows that the SC-HI is a valid and reliable tool to measure self-care in patients with hypertension among the Brazilian population.

Caregiver Contribution to Self-care in Patients With Heart Failure: A Qualitative Descriptive Study

Durante, A., Paturzo, M., Mottola, A., Alvaro, R., Vaughan Dickson, V., & Vellone, E. (2019). Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 34(2), E28-E35. 10.1097/JCN.0000000000000560
Background: Caregiver contribution to heart failure (HF) self-care maintenance and management is important in HF care. Literature remains unclear regarding which practices caregivers perform to contribute to self-care for patients with HF, especially in Southern Europe. Objective: The objective of this study was to describe caregiver contributions to HF self-care maintenance (ie, treatment adherence and symptom monitoring) and management (ie, managing HF symptoms when they occur). Methods: Forty HF caregivers were enrolled from 3 outpatient clinics in Italy for a qualitative descriptive study. Data were collected with a semistructured interview and analyzed using content analysis. Results: Caregivers were 53.6 years old on average and mostly female (63.5%). Caregiver contributions to self-care maintenance included practices related to (1) monitoring medication adherence, (2) educating patients about HF symptom monitoring, (3) motivating patients to perform physical activity, and (4) reinforcing dietary restrictions. However, some of these practices were incorrect (eg, weighing the patient only once a week). Caregiver contributions to self-care management included practices related to (1) symptom recognition and (2) treatment implementation. Caregivers were able to recognize symptoms of HF exacerbation (eg, breathlessness) but lacked confidence regarding treatment implementation (eg, administering an extra diuretic). Conclusions: Although caregivers described contributing to patients' HF self-care maintenance and management, some of their practices were incorrect. Because the caregiver contributions to HF self-care can improve patient outcomes, clinicians should routinely assess caregiver HF self-care practices and provide education and reinforcement regarding evidence-based practices.

Exploring the Mechanism of Effectiveness of a Psychoeducational Intervention in a Rehabilitation Program (CopenHeartRFA) for Patients Treated with Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation: A Mixed Methods Study

Risom, S. S., Lind, J., Dickson, V. V., & Berg, S. K. (2019). Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 34(4), 336-343. 10.1097/JCN.0000000000000584
Background Patients treated for atrial fibrillation with an ablation can experience decreased mental health. Little is known about the effect of a psychoeducation intervention on this patient group. Objectives The aim of this study was to explore the effect of a psychoeducation intervention on patients' mental health after participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program, with a focus on elaborating on the lack of mental health improvements. Method Sequential explanatory mixed methods including secondary analysis of qualitative and quantitative data collected in a randomized rehabilitation trial was performed. Perceived health was measured by a questionnaire (n = 95), and qualitative interviews were performed (n = 10). Results Patients scoring high on perceived health experienced positive effects of the intervention. Patients scoring low appear to have either low physical capacity and severe atrial fibrillation symptoms, bigger life issues, or lack of social support. Conclusion: A more in-depth understanding of the effect of a psychoeducational intervention included in a cardiac rehabilitation program has been achieved.

The Occupational Health of Nurses in the Economic Community of West African States: A Review of the Literature

Ridge, L. J., Dickson, V. V., & Stimpfel, A. W. (2019). Workplace Health and Safety, 67(11), 554-564. 10.1177/2165079919859383
Nurses provide the majority of health care in sub-Saharan Africa, which has high rates of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This systematic review used PRISMA methodology to synthesize the literature published between January 2008 and December 2018 examining the occupational health of nurses practicing in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The United States’ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Hierarchy of Controls is used to frame the findings. This research was mostly conducted in Nigeria and Ghana and focused on administrative controls. Nurses practicing in ECOWAS are at high risk of acquiring a bloodborne illness due to inadequate engineering and administrative controls, as well as limited access to personal protective equipment (PPE). These findings indicate interventions to improve these controls would likely lower the occupational risks faced by nurses practicing in ECOWAS. Research in more countries in ECOWAS would likely find differences in occupational health practices in Nigeria and Ghana, which are relatively wealthy, and other countries in the region. This literature showed nurses practicing in ECOWAS did not have adequate protection from biological hazards. Regional health groups, such as the West African Health Organization, should commit to improving occupational health practice. Needle recapping and double gloving must be discontinued, and PPE must be made more widely available in ECOWAS. Occupational health professionals in the region should advocate for better distribution of PPE and consider offering trainings on these behaviors.

Patient Barriers and Facilitators to Medications for Opioid Use Disorder in Primary Care

Tofighi, B., Williams, A. R., Chemi, C., Suhail-Sindhu, S., Dickson, V., & Lee, J. D. (2019). Substance Use and Misuse, 54(14), 2409-2419. 10.1080/10826084.2019.1653324
Introduction: This study explored factors influencing patient access to medications for opioid use disorder (OUD), particularly for individuals eligible but historically suboptimal follow-up with in-house referrals to office-based opioid treatment (OBOT). Objectives: In-depth qualitative interviews among a mostly underserved sample of adults with OUD elicited: 1) knowledge and experiences across the OUD treatment cascade; and 2) more nuanced elements of patient-centered care, including shared decision making with providers, experiences in OBOT versus specialty addiction treatment, transitioning from methadone to buprenorphine or extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX), and voluntary discontinuation of medications for OUD. Methods: We conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews between January and February of 2018 among adult inpatient detoxification program patients with OUD (n = 23). Preliminary analysis of interviews yielded key themes and ideas that were coded from a grounded theory approach. Results: Willingness to engage with OBOT was influenced by a complex array of practical considerations, including access to patient-centered care in OBOT settings, positive experiences with illicitly obtained buprenorphine, and differential experiences pertaining to OBOT versus specialty addiction treatment. Responses were generally favorable towards OBOT with buprenorphine, yet knowledge regarding extended-release naltrexone was limited. Respondents were often frustrated by clinicians when requesting to transition from methadone to buprenorphine or XR-NTX. Lastly, participants elucidated limited access to OBOT programs in underserved neighborhoods and suburban settings. Conclusion: Limited access to patient-centered care in OBOT with buprenorphine and extended-release naltrexone may exacerbate challenges to retention and/or reengagement with OUD care.

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