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Mary Isaacson

Photo of Mary Isaacson
Title Assistant Professor (Rapid City)
Office Building Off-Campus
Room Number 5
Mailing Address South Dakota State University
College of Nursing, Rapid City
1220 Mt. Rushmore Road
Rapid City, SD 57701

Applications of Research

Isaacson, M.J., Minton, M.E., DaRosa, P., & Harming, S. (in press). Nurse comfort with palliative and end of life communication: A rural and urban comparison. Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing.
Isaacson, M.J., Hulme, P.A., Cowan, J., & Kerkvliet, J. (2018). Cancer survivorship care plans: Processes, effective strategies, and challenges in a Northern Plains rural state. Public Health Nursing, 35(4), 291-298. doi: 10.1111/phn.12393
Isaacson, M.J. (2018). Addressing palliative and end-of-life care needs with Native American elders. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 24(4), 160-168. doi:
Isaacson, M.J. & Lynch, A.R. (2018). Culturally relevant palliative and end-of-life care for U.S. Indigenous populations: An integrative review. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 29(2), 181-191. doi: 10.1177/1043659617720980
Isaacson, M.J. & Minton, M.E. (2018). End-of-life communication: Nurses co-creating the closing composition with patients and families. Advances in Nursing Science, 41(1), 2-17. doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000186
Minton, M.E., Isaacson., M.J., Varilek, B.M., Stadick, J.L., & O’Connell-Persaud, S. (2018). A willingness to go there: Nurses and spiritual care. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(1), 173-181. doi: 10.111/jocn.13967
Isaacson, M.J. (2017). Wakanki ewastepikte: An advance directive education project with American Indian elders. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 19(6), 580-587. doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000392
Minton, M.E., Isaacson, M., & Banik, D. (2016). Prayer and the registered nurse (PRN): Nurses’ reports of ease and dis-ease with patient initiated prayer request. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(9), 2185-2195. doi: 10.1111/jan.12990
Isaacson, M., Karel, B., Varilek, B.M, Steenstra, W.J., Tanis-Heyenga, J.P., & Wagner, A.J. (2015). Insights from health care professionals regarding palliative care options on South Dakota reservations. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 26(5), 473-479. doi: 10.1177/1043659614527623
Isaacson, M. (2014). Clarifying concepts: cultural humility or competency. Journal of Professional
Nursing, 30(3), 251-258. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2013.09.011
Isaacson, M. J. (2001). Who I Am. Nursing Science Quarterly, 14(2), 117-119.

Professional Memberships

American Nurses Association, South Dakota Nurses Association, National League of Nursing; Transcultural Nursing Society, Sigma Theta Tau- Phi Chapter; Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association, Palliative Care Research Cooperative, Rural Nurses Organization

Academic Interests/Expertise

Palliative Care and End-of-life care, Palliative and End-of-life communication, Transcultural nursing and healthcare, health disparities, American Indian healthcare, American Indian adolescent risk behaviors, childhood obesity, underserved populations, horse and human health interactions, rural nursing

Area(s) of Research

Palliative care in the American Indian population, American Indian childhood obesity, palliative care in rural and frontier communities, palliative and end of life care communication, cultural humility, American Indian adolescent risk behaviors, hope and resilience.

Academic Responsibilities

Undergraduate and graduate nursing courses

Committee Activities

Chair, Nursing Research Committee; Faculty Senate

Former Positions Held

Assistant Professor, Augustana College, 2002-2013;
Instructor, Mount Marty College, 2000-2001


Isaacson, Mary, Principal Investigator, Bott-Knutson, Rebecca, Fishback, Mary Beth, Varnum, Angela, & Brandenburger, Shelly, Co-Investigators. Psychometric Evaluation of Hope and Resilience Measures in Native American Youth Wellness: A Preliminary Study. Funding Source: South Dakota State University, Scholarly Excellence Fund. (2015-2017).
Isaacson, Mary, Evaluation Director. Increasing the Implementation of Evidence-Based Cancer Survivorship interventions to Increase Quality and Duration of Life among Cancer Patients. Funding Source: American Cancer Society. (2015-2016).
Isaacson, Mary & Minton, Mary, Principal Investigators. Nurse Attitudes Toward Palliative Care Certification: A Rural/Urban Assessment. Funding Source: Hospice & Palliative Nurses Foundation. (2015-2016).
Isaacson, Mary, Principal Investigator. Wakanki Ewastpikte--"Care for Our Elders." Funding Source: South Dakota Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan. (2015).
Isaacson, Mary, Principal Investigator. Health Promotion and Palliative Care on South Dakota Reservations. Funding Source: South Dakota State University, College of Nursing, Dawley Seed Grant. (2013-2014).
Isaacson, Mary, Co-Investigator, Mary Minton, Co-Investigator. Palliative and End of Life Education in Rural South Dakota: A Pilot Workshop for Interprofessionals, Principal Investigator, LuAnn Eidsness, LifeCircle South Dakota, SD. Funding Source: South Dakota Comprehensive Control Plan. (2014).
Isaacson, Mary, Co-Investigator; Marylou Mylant, Co-Investigator. American Indian Pilot Study on Caregiving, Attachment, and Health of Young Children. Funding Source: Collaborative Research Center on American Indian Health. (2014-2015).


Developed instrument:
Isaacson M. & Minton, M.E. (2017). Comfort with Communication in Palliative & End of Life Care (C-COPE©) [Assessment instrument]. Brookings, SD. Available in the SDSU Institutional Repository:

Awards & Honors

Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association Research Scholar 2018
SDSU College of Nursing 2015 Outstanding Researcher

Specialty Area

  • Palliative/End of Life Care, American Indian health, Transcultural Nursing,


CHPN- 2015
Ph.D. in Nursing- Indiana University- 2009
MA in Nursing (Community Health Emphasis)- Augustana College- 2002;
BS in Nursing- South Dakota State University- 1998;
Diploma in Nursing- St. Luke's College, Sioux City, IA- 1982