Polly Ryan, PhD, RN, CNS-BC

Polly Ryan, PhD, RN, CNS-BC

Associate Researcher
(414) 229-3169
Cunningham Hall 453

Dr. Ryan’s research focuses on designing and testing patient-centered interventions to enhancing self-management leading to health behavior change. She is currently funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) as the primary investigator on a multi-disciplinary, multi-site study on the “Efficacy of a m-Health Self-management Intervention.” This study focuses on osteoporosis prevention for middle aged women and the intervention is being delivered via a cell phone app. She developed the “Integrated Theory of Health Behavior Change” which was later incorporated as the process component into the “Individual and Family Self-Management Theory;” the theory that provides the foundation for the Self-Management Science Center at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM).

Her research has been presented at the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, NINR, National Council on Aging, and at the Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference. She is also known for her work on developing and testing tailored interventions. She completed a NIH funded two year Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin Madison, obtained her PhD from UWM, is an adjunct Associate Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and continues to support clinical nursing research as a Research Scientist with Froedtert Healthcare in Milwaukee.


Other Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ph D Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
MSN Nursing, Marquette University
BSN Nursing, St. Xavier College

Awards & Honors

Regner Research Award
Marquette University

Excellence in Nursing Award
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Wisconsin Affiliate-Nurse Researcher Award
American Heart Association

Multi-Image Award for "The Experience"
Chicago Festival Competition

Pullman Award

Sigma Theta Tau International, Delta Gamma Chapter

Wisconsin Affiliate-Nurse Educator Award
American Heart Association

Current Research

Efficacy of a m-Health Self-Management Intervention
The goal of this project is to test the efficacy of a theory-based, patient-centered, dynamically tailored intervention delivered via a cell phone app. The four aims are: 1) to test the efficacy of the intervention to improve long-term mainteneance of osteoporosis prevention health behaviors in midlife women; 2) to evaluate moderators and mediators of long-term engagement in health behaviors; 3) to describe processes of health behavior change and evaluate differences within and between subjects using Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMA) as a complement to traditional measures and 4) to evaluate the utility of the Individual and Family Self-Management Theory to explain health behavior change.
Collaborator: Ryan, Polly A

Intellectual Contributions

  1. R. G. Hughes,  L. Fridlington,  Polly A Ryan,  (2014) Reliability and construct validity of the Complexity Compression Questionnaire, Journal of Nursing Measurement, 2(291-301),
  2. Polly A Ryan, (2013) Computer-based intervention to enhance self-management of calcium and vitamin D intake in women, Western Journal of Nursing Research
  3. S. J. Bahr,  S. Solverson,  A. Schlidt,  D. Hack,  J. L. Smith,  Polly A Ryan,  (2013) Integrated literature review of postdischarge telephone calls., Western Journal of Nursing Research
  4. Karen S Marek,  Frank Stetzer,  Polly A Ryan,  L. D. Bub,  S. J. Adams,  A. Schlidt,  R. Lancaster,  A. M. O'Brien,  (2013) Nurse care coordination and technology effects on health status of frail older adults via enhanced slef-management of medication: Randomized clinical trial to test efficacy, Nursing Research, 62(4), 269-278
  5. J. Ohlendorf,  M. E. Weiss,  Polly A Ryan,  (2012) Weight-management information needs of postpartum women., MCN: The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 37(1), 56-63
  6. D. Maierle,  Polly A Ryan,  (2011) Evaluation of satisfaction and use of electronic intervention for behavior change., CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 29(11), 622-629
  7. Polly A Ryan,  M. Weiss,  N. Traxel,  M. Brondino,  (2011) Testing the Integrated Theory of Health Behavior: Change and postpartum weight management., Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67(9), 2047-2059
  8. Polly A Ryan,  N. J. Pumilla,  B. Henak,  T. Chang,  (2009) Development and performance usability testing of theory-based, computerized, tailored intervention., Computers, Informatics, Nursing: CIN, 27(5), 288-298
  9. Polly A Ryan, (2009) Integrated Theory of Health Behavior Change: Background and intervention development., Clinical Nurse Specialist: Journal of Advanced Practice Nursing, 23(3), 161-170
  10. Polly A Ryan,  Kathleen J Sawin,  (2009) The Individual and Family Self-management Theory: Background and Perspectives on Context, Process, and Outcomes, Nursing Outlook, 57(4), 217-225
  11. M. E. Weiss,  Polly A Ryan,  L. Lokken,  (2006) Validity and reliability of the Perceived Readiness for Discharge after Birth Scale., JOGNN: Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, 35(1), 34-45
  12. M. E. Weiss,  Polly A Ryan,  L. Lokken,  M. Nelson,  (2004) Length of stay after vaginal birth: Sociodemographic and readiness-for-discharge factors., Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care, 31(2), 93-101
  13. Polly A Ryan,  Amy M Coenen,  (2003) APN transitional care., Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 35(3), 205.
  14. Polly A Ryan,  D. R. Lauver,  (2002) The efficacy of tailored interventions., Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 34(4), 331-337
  15. Elizabeth C Devine,  S. A. Bevsek,  K. Brubakken,  B. P. Johnson,  Polly A Ryan,  M. K. Sliefert,  B. Rodgers,  (1999) AHCPR clinical practice guideline on surgical pain management., Research in Nursing & Health, 22(2), 119-130.
  16. G. Godinez,  J. Schweiger,  J. Gruver,  Polly A Ryan,  (1999) Role transition from graduate to staff nurse: A qualitative analysis., Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 15(3), 97-110
  17. K. L. Krapiuk,  C. W. Delaney,  Polly A Ryan,  (1997) South Dakota statewide Nursing Minimum Data Set project, Journal of Professional Nursing, 13(2), 76-83
  18. Amy M Coenen,  Polly A Ryan,  J. Sutton,  Elizabeth C Devine,  H. H. Werley,  S. Kelber,  (1995) Use of the Nursing Minimum Data Set to describe nursing interventions for select nursing diagnoses and related factors in an acute care setting., Nursing Diagnosis, 6(3), 108-114
  19. H. H. Werley,  Elizabeth C Devine,  C. R. Zorn,  Polly A Ryan,  B. L. Westra,  (1991) The Nursing Minimum Data Set: Abstraction tool for standardized, comparable, essential data., American Journal of Public Health, 81(4), 421-426


  1. Self-management Science Center
    Event: Building Bridges to Research Based Nursing Practice
    Presenters: Rachel F Schiffman,  Kathleen J Sawin,  Polly A Ryan,  Jennifer J Doering,  Beth L Rodgers,  Sarah Morgan
    May 13, 2011
  2. Enhancing Participation in Self-Management Processes
    Event: the Self-Management State of the Science Conference,
    Presenters: Polly A Ryan,  Kathleen J Sawin,  Rachel F Schiffman
    September 2010

(414) 229-3169
Cunningham Hall 453

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