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Small Grants Program

The Small Grants Mentee/Mentor Program accepts applications from NANN members interested in developing their research skills and/or initiating their own research study or evidence-based practice (EBP)/ quality improvement (QI) project.

The 2021 Call for Small Grant proposals is now closed. Applicants will be notified of their status in May 2021. 

2020 Small Grant Recipients

Nesibe Kutahyalioglu Small Grants 002

Nesibe S. Kutahyalioglu, MSN RN

Neonatal Nurses' Practices about Family-Centered Care and Implementation Barriers

At what institute are you currently conducting your research?
George Mason University, School of Nursing, Fairfax, VA

What is the main focus of your research?
Family-Centered Care (FCC) is a model of care that emphasizes families' unrestricted and active presence in the care of their infant. Research has demonstrated FCC implementation has a positive impact on the parents and infants, as well as the nurses. Neonatal nurses play a crucial role in implementing the FCC. Nevertheless, nurses may have difficulties integrating FCC components at the bedside due to barriers at the individual, unit, or organizational levels. For example, practicing FCC may raise concerns about issues of power, control, and role confusion between healthcare professionals and parents. Besides, NICU nurses are at risk for developing compassion fatigue due to the routine exposure of the distressing aspects of infant illness or death, including the families' emotional responses. Therefore, we need to know the role of nurse empowerment and compassion fatigue in FCC practices and need a deeper understanding of other barriers and facilitators of FCC implementation.

How did receiving the NANN Research Institute’s Small Grant Award positively impact your career?
Receiving the NANN Small Grant Award allows me to conduct this research and take skills and knowledge, ultimately supports my future research career. Moreover, FCC is not currently being practiced in my home country of Turkey. As efforts are made to introduce this important practice, these study findings will help me to develop and evaluate successful strategies to overcome potential future barriers to implementation. This award will help me to improve the quality of the newborn's care and support parents.

Why is your work important and how does it advance the field of neonatal nursing?
Although neonatal nurses are a cornerstone of practicing FCC, they experience difficulties in implementing it into practice. Conducting this study will provide a better understanding of how nurses' compassion fatigue and empowerment along with other factors may be associated with FCC practices in the NICU setting. Interventions could be then developed and evaluated to address barriers and support facilitators of FCC implementation.

In what ways does NANN membership add value to your professional development?
The NANN membership provides clinical advancement and helps me to become more proficient in neonatal specialties, to follow current changes in healthcare, and encourage using evidence-based practices. Also, the NANN membership provides academic advancement through collaboration, communication, and networking opportunities as well as research and dissemination opportunities.

Alyssa Weiss Small Grants Award

Alyssa Weiss, NNP-BC MSN

Failure to Rescue in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: A Grounded Theory Study

At what institute are you currently conducting your research?
The University of Arizona 

What is the main focus of your research?
The main focus of my research is failure to rescue in the NICU. Failure to rescue is a concept that is well defined in adult populations and is used as a nurse-sensitive quality indicator for patient safety. The concept of failure to rescue captures the idea that, although not every complication of medical care is preventable, health care systems should be able to rapidly identify and treat complications when they occur.

How did receiving the NANN Research Institute’s Small Grant Award positively impact your career?
Receiving the NANN Small Grant Award has solidified that this research is important and will be impactful to NICU nurses, nurse practitioners, babies, and their families.

Why is your work important and how does it advance the field of neonatal nursing?
The study of failure to rescue in the NICU is important to research because it will shine a light on system issues that cause lapses in safety for our patients and help us to understand how this concept is defined within the NICU as our patients are unique from any other patient population. It is also important because it will give neonatal nurses a voice that has been lacking in previous failure to rescue literature.

In what ways does NANN membership add value to your professional development?
My NANN membership has provided me with education, networking with like-minded professionals, and community support. The community provides a platform to disseminate information, find support, and enhance my practice.

Past Small Grants Recipients


The purpose of the NANN mentored research and EBP proposal grant program is to build the research study and EBP project capacity of neonatal nurses. Through a productive mentor-mentee relationship this award provides neonatal nurses who have not been previously engaged in writing research or EBP proposals or who have not been successful in obtaining previous funding to begin a research or EBP project in an area of interest.

Amount of Grant Funding

Awards are available up to $5000. The funding cycle begins November 1 and ends October 31 of each year. Awards will be made to the grantees’ institution.


  • Mentee: The Principal Investigator for this research or EBP project is the Mentee and may be a nurse, a graduate student, a post doctorate or junior faculty. Those with previous external funding for a single award greater than $25,000 direct costs are ineligible.
  • Mentors: The Mentor is someone who can guide and support the mentee in developing her or his research or EBP project skills. The mentor should possess leadership skills; and knowledge, skills and expertise in designing and conducting research or EBP studies. The mentor should be willing to commit, actively guide, counsel, and foster the mentee’s growth. The mentor should have a history of successful EBP or research activities.

The mentee must be a member of the National Association of the Neonatal Nurses. Proof of membership must be submitted with the application. Mentors need not be members of NANN however they do need to possess the skills as listed above to guide the mentee in this project. If a mentor cannot be easily identified by the mentee, please contact the NANN office for assistance. There is a strong preference that the mentor be a nurse.

Criteria for Scoring Proposals

Use the links below for guidance about how proposals will be reviewed and scored.
EBP Project Scoring Sheet
Research Project Scoring Sheet

Appropriate and inappropriate use of funds

Funds can be used for supplies, small item equipment, technical services, travel directly related to the project, and expenses related to conducting the project.
Funds cannot be used for salary support, student tuition, books and school supplies, professional organizations membership fees. Funding up to $1000 can be designated in the budget for travel to present the results of the project at NANN's Annual Conference. These funds may only be used for presentation of completed funded projects by the Mentee, not for projects in progress. No travel funds may be requested to present at nursing meetings other than the NANN Annual Conference. It is our intent to support the growth of research and EBP projects and dissemination of best practices within NANN and thus funding for travel to other meetings is not allowable.

Terms of the award and accountability

Within 30 days of completion of the project recipients must submit a One Page Progress Report to the NANN Board of Directors explaining how project objectives were met and how the funds were used. Recipients must participate in the NANN Annual Conference abstract submission process upon completion of their project. Recipients also are encouraged to disseminate project findings via the NANN paper presentation sessions and neonatal peer reviewed journals. If recipients intend to publish, they must first submit their manuscript to Advances in Neonatal Care. All presentation and publications should acknowledge the support of NANN Research Institute.

Notification and release of funds

Approval by the institutional review board is not required at the time of submission of proposals for review for potential funding. Evidence of IRB review (if applicable) is required for release of funds.

Application deadline and submission

Applications are due on March 1st of each year. All applications must contain all required parts and must be submitted completely to be eligible for award.

Before drafting your Proposal:

Is this an EBP Project or a research study?

Whether a proposed study should follow the procedure for an EBP project versus a traditional research proposal can sometimes be confusing. Therefore, NANN provides the information below to assist potential mentees in making this determination prior to proposal development.

What is the difference between Research Studies and Evidence-Based Practice Projects?

Research Studies are conducted with the intent of generating new evidence or strengthening existing evidence related to a clinically relevant nursing problem. Research projects are guided by a conceptual framework that allow research questions to be answered and/or hypotheses to be tested. Existing research studies are critically reviewed to justify the need for new or strengthened evidence (i.e., significance of the study). The description of a research project would include background and significance, methodology (design, sample, setting, valid and reliable data gathering strategies, data analysis), interpretation of results and implications for nursing practice and future research. IRB review is mandatory.
Evidence-Based Practice Projects are conducted with the intent of either generating a clinical practice guideline or implementing a practice recommendation in a particular setting based on existing evidence. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines/practice changes must incorporate patient preferences as well as expert clinical judgment. Existing research studies are critically reviewed to determine the quality of available evidence that would justify implementation of the specific practice change. The description of an EBP project would include the background and significance of the problem, how research evidence was obtained and evaluated, steps taken to implement the practice change, barriers to implementation, analysis of nursing and patient outcomes, and recommendations for next steps related to practice, education, or future research. Outcomes of an EBP project applied to a clinical setting should be compared to what research has previously found in a more controlled environment. IRB review may be needed for an EBP project if outcome data are collected from human subjects.

What to do if the answer to this question remains unclear?

If you are uncertain whether your project better fits criteria for an EBP project versus a traditional research study, it may be helpful to consider your project within the context of an EBP model. While there are many EBP Models currently in use, the Iowa Model is one that can assist in making the determination of whether sufficient evidence exists for a practice change to be made (EBP project route), or whether the current literature base is insufficient and requires more discovery work (i.e. traditional research study).

The Small Grants Program aims to build the research capacity of neonatal nurses. We are proud of the contributions made to neonatal nursing by our past Small Grants recipients


Thank you to the supporter of our Small Grants Program: