Brenda G. Kucirka

Brenda G. Kucirka, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-CS, CNE

  • Associate Professor
Media Expertise:
  • Nursing
  • Social Justice

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Nursing (2013)
    Widener University (PA)
  • MSN, Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (1998)
    University of Pennsylvania (PA)
  • BSN, Nursing (1995)
    Hahnemann University
  • Diploma, Nursing (1981)
    St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing

About Me

I believe that learning occurs in partnership, in the call and response of student and teacher. I value authenticity and connectedness in the classroom and strive to establish a learning environment in which respect and compassion are central to the learning process.

Active engagement and self expression is encouraged by creating a culture of acceptance and inclusivity. Student evaluations consistently speak to my commitment to a just culture and creating a safe learning environment. I believe that rigor and caring can and should coexist in the classroom and clinical setting, which is why I hold students accountable for learning by setting the bar high while helping them to develop strategies to meet and exceed personal goals and course expectations.

My teaching approaches include the use of mindfulness strategies and the promotion of student self-awareness and self-care, which are essential in nursing. Students learn to advocate for themselves as the first step toward becoming an advocate and change agent for patients.

Nursing is both an art and a science, thus nursing education should foster the development of creativity as well as critical thinking. My teaching success is measured by the degree of relatedness and connection among students in the classroom as well as scholastic achievement. A safe learning environment encourages students to take risks, rise to challenges, recognize strengths, and develop the interpersonal skills needed to be leaders in the nursing profession. I am committed to educating nurses who are prepared to safely manage patient care as well as advocate for patients and the profession.

Research Interests

My research include: student mental health, faculty-student relationships, resiliency, social justice, ethical tension in academia and faculty relationships.

Media Expertise

  • Psychiatric mental health nursing
  • Social justice and advocacy
  • Student mental health
  • Critical conversations in academia and health care
  • Civic engagement


Kucirka, B, & Baumberger-Henry, M. (2021). Courageous caring conversations: Promoting     faculty wellbeing. Archives of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. 35, 218-222

Weiland, D., & Kucirka, B.G. (2019). Helicopter parenting and the mental health of iGen college     students. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20191210-01

Kucirka, B. & Ramirez, J. (2019). Challenges of treating mental health issues in correctional
settings. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 57(7), 7-11. doi: 10.3928/02793695-20190612-02

Kucirka, B. G. (2017). Navigating the faculty–student relationship: Interacting with nursing
students with mental health issues. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 23, 393–403.

Kucirka, B.  (Faculty contributor) (2016). Essential #10 Chronic Illness. In Undergraduate education faculty toolkit: Defining and using psychiatric-mental health nursing skills in undergraduate nursing education. Retrieved from


Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), Member at Large; SigmaTheta Tau International (STTI) Eta Beta Chapter, Phi Kappa Phi Kappa Phi,  National League for Nursing (NLN), American Nurses Association (ANA), American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA), Inside Out Prison Exchange Program Certified Instructor, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Delaware County Reentry Coalition, Thresholds of Delaware County, Providence House Advisory Board Chester PA


2019   Certificate of Recognition from Chester City Council for Community Engagement

2018   Widener University Faculty Civic Engagement Award

2018   Eta Beta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Excellence in Teaching Award

2017   Eta Beta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Excellence in Leadership Award
2015   Eta Beta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Excellence in Nursing Practice Award

2013   Dean’s Award for Excellence: PhD

2011   APNA Janssen Scholar



In the Media


  • Nursing Professor Receives Excellence in Nursing Award from Main Line Today

    Brenda Kucirka, associate professor of nursing, was named a top nurse in the region by Main Line Today. Kucirka was named in the publication's 2022 Excellence in Nursing Awards, an annual recognition that asks nurses in the main line and western suburbs to cast votes for their peers in a variety of specialties. A 2013 graduate of Widener's doctoral nursing science program, Kucirka was honored for her excellence in nursing education. 

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  • Brenda Kucirka Publishes in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services

    Brenda Kucirka, assistant professor of nursing, published an article in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services about the difficulties of providing mental health care to individuals in correctional facilities.

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