Abir Bekhet, PhD '07, RN, HSMI

Abir Bekhet

Award for Excellence 2011:

‌Abir Bekhet, PhD, RN, HSMI, is an assistant professor at Marquette University, College of Nursing, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received her BSN (1991) and MSN (1997) with honors from Alexandria University in Egypt. She received her PhD (2007) from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Her clinical and theoretical experience in psychiatric nursing is with persons with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depressive disorder. Dr. Bekhet returned to Alexandria, Egypt following her PhD graduation in 2007, to be a nursing faculty member at Alexandria University. During her time there, she taught clinical and theoretical psychiatric mental health nursing to undergraduate students. She also continued to collaborate on various research projects and publications with her mentor, Dr. Jaclene Zauszniewski, and with other faculty members of Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Bekhet’s research focuses on the effects of positive cognitions and resourcefulness in overcoming adversity. During the last few years, she worked with many populations including older adults who relocated to retirement communities, caregivers of persons with mental illness, caregivers of persons with dementia, and more recently, caregivers of persons with autism. All of her research studies have consistently focused on “positive concepts,” or strengths, resilience, and assets of individuals, rather than shortcomings, deficits, and disorders.

During the past few years, she has presented her research in over 40 papers/posters at local, regional, national, and international nursing conferences and has been recognized for her scholarly work with many prestigious research awards both in the United States and overseas. When she was a graduate student at Case Western Reserve University, she was awarded first place for two research presentations, one regional from the Midwest Nursing Research Society in 2003, and one international from the International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses in 2005. She was awarded first place from CWRU’s Research Show Case in 2007 for her research study “Milieu Change and Relocation Adjustment in Elders”, and one year later, her research received the Western Journal of Nursing Research/Midwest Nursing Research Society’s Outstanding Graduate Student Manuscript Award. She is also a Midwest Nursing Research Society Mentorship Grant Award recipient. Of her 29 publications (25 in print and four in press), two were recognized as Outstanding Papers by the Western Journal of Nursing Research. Her research is funded by Sigma Theta Tau International and the American Psychiatric Nursing Foundation.

Dr. Bekhet has recently completed a pilot intervention study, which was based on her descriptive findings from her dissertation which showed that learned resourcefulness moderated the effects of relocation controllability on relocation adjustment. In this recent pilot study, she measured the effects of a resourcefulness training intervention on relocation adjustment and adaptive functioning among relocated older adults. She plans to use findings from this pilot intervention study as the foundation for a larger clinical trial. In addition, she is working on two studies in which she is testing interventions to teach resourcefulness skills and support positive cognitions in other high-risk and vulnerable populations, including caregivers of persons with dementia and caregivers of persons with autism. However, in doing so, her first step will be to establish an association among caregiver burden, positive cognitions, resourcefulness, and psychological well-being in the two caregiver groups. Those two studies are currently funded by American Psychiatric Nurses Foundation (APNF) and a Regular Research Grant (RRG) Award from Marquette University.

Dr. Abir Bekhet has made significant contributions to mental health nursing through her research, dissemination, and teaching concerning the use of positive cognitions, resourcefulness, and resilience in overcoming adversity in vulnerable populations. The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing Alumni Association is proud to bestow upon her its Award for Excellence in honor of her tireless dedication to the nursing profession.