Photo of Cristen Walker , MNE, RN, CNRN, CNE

Cristen Walker, , MNE, RN, CNRN, CNE

Indiana University of Pennsylvania PhD
Home Pittston PA United States


My professional nursing career began in 1988 after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh. For several years, I practiced as a certified critical care nurse in various cities including Pittsburgh, Chicago and Scranton. After receiving my master’s degree from Binghamton University in 1996, I practiced as a Family Nurse Practitioner in the specialty of nephrology as well as family practice.

My career as a nurse educator began in 2008, teaching in a practical nursing program, allowing me to discover my love for teaching. In 2014, my role as an educator expanded to the university setting, where I proudly continue to teach as a faculty member at the University of Scranton. My doctoral journey began at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2015. After successfully completing four years of this program, focused on nursing education, I am excitedly preparing to conduct my doctoral research in the fall of 2019. This multi-site study will investigate the impact of an animal-assisted therapeutic intervention, using certified therapy dogs, on various psychological and physiological measures of BSN test anxiety. I have recently been awarded a PHENSA Emerging Nurse Leader Doctoral scholarship on the basis of this study.

I also continue to practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner on a volunteer basis at multiple health clinics in the local community, providing care for the vulnerable population. Additionally, I serve as a board member for Nurse Practitioners of Northeastern PA and a committee member for the Collaborative Nursing Network and Nursing Education Consortium in northeast and central Pennsylvania.


Research/Clinical Practice Area: Jonas Scholar – Preventive Health
“Dissertation: Title: The Impact of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Various Measures of BSN Test Anxiety

This multi-site, quasi-experimental study will examine the impact of an intervention using certified therapy dogs on junior-level baccalaureate nursing student test anxiety. Using a pre/post-test, one group design, multiple measurements of anxiety will be utilized including the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Adults, heart rate, and salivary cortisol levels. It is anticipated that the structured therapy dog intervention will significantly reduce BSN test anxiety prior to a nursing course exam. ”