Specialty Director, Duke University School of Nursing Neonatal Program
Duke University Medical Center and School of Nursing
Research interests & goals:
Debra Brandon, PhD, RN, CCNS is an Associate Professor and Specialty Director for the Duke University School of Nursing Neonatal Program. She received her doctorate in nursing at the University of North Carolina in 2000. She joined the faculty of Duke University School of Nursing in the October of 1999 and has practiced as the Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist for the Duke Hospital Intensive Care Nursery since September of 1994. Dr. Brandon’s research focuses on the health and development of high-risk infants and young children with an overall goal of improving the short- and long-term outcomes of high-risk preterm infants and their families. Dr. Brandon has conducted two longitudinal studies with preterm infants (F-31 NR07180; R01 NR008044), which compared the effects of day-night cycling of light to continuous near darkness in preterm infants using a randomized longitudinal design. The ongoing study is evaluating the effects of early (28 weeks) and late (36 weeks) cycled light on short- and long-term health and developmental outcomes including sleep-wake state development, weight gain, lung maturation, length of hospitalization (LOS), auditory and visual development, and neurodevelopmental outcomes (NR008044).
Dr. Brandon was also co-investigator on an RO1 evaluating the relationship between preterm infant sleep and their long-term outcomes (NR01894). These studies have led to her expertise in infant sleep and the development of a new instrumented measure of sleep-wake assessment. Dr. Brandon has recently completed two pilot studies evaluating palliative and end-of-life care for infants and children with life-threatening conditions. She has utilized her expertise in longitudinal mixed methods to develop another study that is examining the trajectory of decision making for infants undergoing life-sustaining treatment for complex life-threatening conditions. These decisions include whether to initiate treatment, how to alter the treatment to respond to a medical crisis, whether to shift from aggressive curative care to symptom-focused palliative care, and whether to withdraw treatment.