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Photo of Wendler, M. Cecilia

M. Cecilia Wendler, PhD, RN

Clinical Associate Professor

Department of Biobehavioral Nursing Science

Pronouns: she/her/hers


Building & Room:

Springfield Campus SAB 60D


One University Plaza, SAB 23, Springfield, IL 62703


Cecilia Wendler, RN, PhD, NE-BC, began her career as an associate-degree RN in critical care.  Dr. Wendler completed her BSN from the College of St. Benedict and Masters in Nursing from the College of St. Scholastica, where she was trained as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Medical/Surgical Nursing (focus on critical care). She then had the privilege of studying with Jean Watson, PhD, RN, FAAN, completing the PhD from the University of Colorado with a Nursing Research focus. With more than 33 years of critical care nursing experience, she has combined her love of clinical with teaching and leading, recently retiring from the Director of Nursing Research and Academic Partnerships position for Springfield Memorial Hospital  in Springfield, IL.  Dr. Wendler is active both regionally and nationally in the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the American Nurses Association, ANA Illinois, and Sigma Theta Tau, International.  She is widely published and has presented nationally and internationally.  She loves teaching students in nursing and, in addition to teaching in the classroom, Zoom and synchronously via Interactive Television (ITV), she has been teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level in the on-line environment for more than 25 years.  Dr. Wendler is deeply dedicated to student growth and development and has a vibrant passion for the profession of nursing.

Dr. Wendler’s research are eclectic; she is a mixed-methods researcher.  She is published in a wide variety of areas and has explored such clinical topics as human Tellington TTouch ®, examining what it is like for RNs to complete their BSNs, experiences of patients and their family members in the post-anesthesia recovery unit, and the hygiene needs of patients of size in the hospital. Her theoretical interests are also widely varied, having published a book through STTI on art in nursing, examined the literature and determined the criteria for caring touch in nursing, and outlined in the literature what it means to have a “capstone” experience as an undergraduate. She has served on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (tenured associate professor) and adjuncts for Millikin in University, Illinois State University and Benedictine University.  She holds the rank of Visiting Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago (Springfield Campus).

Dr. Wendler’s special interest is igniting the fire in students, nurses and faculty for research and evidence-based practice.  At the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire School of Nursing, she was a leader in the faculty-undergraduate nursing research program.  At Springfield Memorial, she brought many associate and baccalaureate-prepared nurses to involvement in nursing research, following their interests from beginning ideas through publication.  She has mentored many to move on with their education.  Dr. Wendler also has a strong passion for social justice and belongingness of all persons, and is a strong advocate for trans/gender expansive people. She continues to teach, write, serve as a national reviewer for several journals, and serve with others on nursing research projects.

Selected Publications

McPherson, S. & Wendler, M.C. (2023, in press).  “Finding my place in academia:” Understanding the

experiences of novice faculty, Journal of Nursing Education.

Morris, K., Reese, C., Hale, R., & Wendler, M.C. (2021).  Journeying through the DNP project:  A

qualitative, descriptive study.  Journal of Professional Nursing, 37(5), 1004-1010.

Vortman, B., McPherson, S., & Wendler, M. C. (2021). State of the science: A concept analysis on

surgical smoke.  Journal of PeriOperative Nursing, 113(1), 41-51.

McPherson, S., Reese, C., & Wendler, M. C. (2018). Methodology update: Delphi studies. Nursing Research, 67(5), 404-410.

doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000297

Baur, K., Smith, T., & Wendler, M.C. (2018). What is it like to experience improved care coordination through a community

outreach program?  A qualitative, descriptive study.  Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, 41(3), 204-212. 

Wendler, M.C., Smith, K., Ellenberg, W., Gill, R., Anderson, L. & Spiegel-Thayer, K. (2017). ‘To see with my own eyes:’

Experiences of family visits during Phase I recovery. Journal of Peri-operative Nursing, 44(5), 218-224.

Baur, K., Moore, B., & Wendler, M.C., (2017). Influencing commitment to BSN completion: A pilot project using motivational

interviewing. Journal of Nursing Administration, 47(3), 172-178.

Wendler M.C., Kirkbride, G., Wade, K., & Ferrell, L.  (2013).  Translational research:  A concept analysis. Research & Theory for Nursing

       Practice, 27 (3), 214-232.   

Olson-Sitki, K., Wendler, M.C., & Forbes, G. (2012) “I see that I am not the only one:” Evaluating the impact of a nurse residency program

for newly graduate registered nurses. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 28(4), 156-162.

Wendler M.C., Samuelson S., Taft L., & Eldridge K. (2011). Reflecting on research: Sharpening nurses’ focus through engaged learning.

       Journal of Continuing Education for Nurses,42(11):487-93; quiz 494-5.

Notable Honors

2007, "Best of Books" Award for "The HeART of Nursing: Expressions of creative arts in nursing. (2nd. Ed.)", Sigma Theta Tau, International

2002, Suzanne Van Ort award for faculty scholarship and creativity, University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, School of Nursing

1996, Jean Watson Award for Vision in Caring (co-recipient with MaryAnn Anderson), University of Colorado Health Sciences Center - College of Nursing

1995, Marie Manthey Award for Innovation in Nursing Practice, University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinics


PhD, Nursing, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center 1994-1999
Denver, Colorado
MA, Nursing (Adult Medical Surgical Nursing, Critical Care focus), 1989-1991
College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN
BSN, Nursing, College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN
AD, Nursing, Presentation College, Aberdeen, SD

Licensures and Certifications

Board certified as Nurse Executive (NE-BC)                                                      2010-2025

American Nurses Credentialing Center  American Nurses Association

Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN and CCRN-K)                                       1982-2017

American Association of Critical Care Nurses

BCLS and ACLS                                                                                                         1978-2017

Professional Memberships


American Nurses Association/Illinois Nurses Association                                             2010-present

American Organization of Nurse Executives                                                                   2009-2016

Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders                                                                              2009-2016

International Association for Human Caring                                                                    1996-2001

Sigma Theta Tau, International                                                                                         1986-present

American Association of Critical Care Nurses                                                                 1981-present

Minnesota Nurses’ Association                                                                                          1987-1991

Selected Presentations

Please see CV

Research Currently in Progress

McPherson, S. & Wendler, M.C. (2022-present).  New graduate nurses’ transition into professional practice

in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic: A qualitative descriptive study.  IRB exempted; In data

collection phase.