Karen Gorton

Karen Gorton
Associate Professor
Nursing and Health Studies

Contact Info


Dr. Gorton joined the faculty of the School of Nursing and Health Studies in 2019. Prior to coming to UMKC, she served as the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate programs at University of Colorado College of Nursing (CU CON). During her time there, she remained engaged in teaching, service and research. Prior to her time at CU CON, she spent five years at the University of Northern Colorado School of Nursing. Dr. Gorton held a Doctoral Fellowship with the National Institute for Nursing Education and Scholarship and progressed into a role of Assistant Professor and spent one year as the Assistant Director for Undergraduate Programs. Dr. Gorton started her academic career at Carroll College, now Carroll University, where she was one of four faculty members who launched a new BSN program. Her time at Carroll found her in the role of Interim Director for one year and Director of the Nursing Program for two years.

Dr. Gorton has pursued evidence-based reforms in nursing education, nursing practice and personal well-being. She was part of a team that was awarded two HRSA grants for Nursing Workforce development at Carroll College. At the University of Northern Colorado (UNCo), she researched the needs of Nursing faculty in the Colorado Community College system and developed conferences to address those needs. Additionally at UNCo, she was instrumental in gaining funding for students via the Nurse Faculty Loan Program. During her time at CU CON, she was instrumental in: changing orientation for all students based upon data; gaining funding for a standardized patient program for pre-licensure students in Mental Health; creating a role and gaining funding for a dedicated advisor for Nursing Students who struggle academically;  proposing a campus wide mental health program for all health profession students which was adopted and funded by a clinical partner; and being awarded one of two global research grants from Sigma Theta Tau International to evaluate barriers and enhancements for students returning for their Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing across the United States.

Presently, Dr. Gorton is working with several health care organizations to evaluate well-being and resilience and the impact various resources on well-being and resilience. She has received funding for the resilience research from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and Eta Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. Her past collaborative work with peers in Nurse Residency programs, clinical practice settings, teaching pedagogy, the use of simulation, and Interprofessional education have contributed to her scholarship.

Dr. Gorton is an active member of Sigma Theta Tau International, serving on the International Board of Directors as the Vice President for 2019-2021 and as the Regional Chapters Coordinating Committee Chair from 2017-2019. Prior to these roles at the international level, Dr. Gorton served as a Regional Coordinator for four years.

Dr. Gorton earned a BS degree from Wheaton College, an MS degree from Indiana University, a BSN degree from Carroll College/Columbia College of Nursing, an MS-Nursing degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and finally, her PhD in Nursing with a focus on Nursing Education from the University of Northern Colorado.


Gorton, KL, Carroll, P., (2018). Acute bronchitis. Mosby Evidence-Based Nursing Monograph. ClinicaKey for Nursing,

Gorton, K.L., Foss, K., Partnerships with clinical settings: Roles and responsibilities of Nurse Educators, in Teaching in Nursing and role of the educator,  Oermann, M.H., De Gagne, J.C., Phillips, B.C eds. Springer (2018).

Gorton, K.L., Thompson, J.  Musculoskeletal Health Assessment Chapter. In Essential Health Assessment, Thompson, J.,  F.A. Davis. October,  2017.

Gorton, K.L. (2016) ENFLA just right for this nurse educator. Reflections on Nursing Leadership, August 31, 2016, 42(2).

LaSala, K.B, Gorton, K.L. (2015) Student’s Academic Transition Issues: Associate Degree to Baccalaureate Nursing. J Nurs Care 4: 231. doi:10.4172/2167-1168.1000231

Gorton, K.L. LaSala, K.B. (2015) Forming atypical partnerships to help alleviate the clinical placement crisis. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 2015.

Gorton, K.L., Hayes, J. (2014). Challenges of assessing critical thinking and clinical judgment in nurse practitioner students. Journal of Nursing Education, 53(3).



Baldwin Tigges, B., Gorton, K., Sherwood, G., Madigan, E. (2018) Growing Leaders through Volunteerism. Sigma Theta Tau International Leadership Connection. Podium.

Gorton, K., Peltz, C., Sherwood, G., (2018) Strategies for Success in Academic Leadership Development Through Mentoring. Sigma Theta Tau International Leadership Connection. Podium.

Gorton, K. (2018) Networking Lunch– Utilizing your Regional Coordinator. Sigma Theta Tau Interantional Leadership Connection. Table Top discussion.

Clark, C. & Gorton, K. (2018) Combining the Power of Simulation, HeartMath®, and Cognitive Rehearsal to Build Resilience and Foster Civility. National League for Nursing 2018 Education Summit. Podium

Gorton, K. (2017) Connecting Nursing Education Across Clinical Environments. On-site and Off-site Considerations. Sigma Theta Tau International 44th Biennial Convention. Poster

Gorton, K, LaSala, K. (2016) A National Study of RN-BSN Academic Transition Issues for Students. Nurse Educators Conference in the Rockies. Podium

Ali, O, Gorton, K., Clevenger, K. (2016) Preparing Nurse Faculty Leaders through a Mentored Leadership Experience. Nursing Education Research Conference. Podium

Gorton, K. Franson, K., Brunson, D.,. Earnest, M., ; Madigowski, W.,  Glover, J., Solanyk, D., NORDON-CRAFT, A., BARTON, A. (2015) AACN Baccalaureate Education Conference. Institutionalization of an Interprofessional Education (IPE) Program. Poster.

Gorton, K., LaSala, K. (2015) Sigma Theta Tau International – Biennial Convention.– Accentuating the “I’s” and eliminating the “D’s”: Inducements and discouragements for students transitioning from Associate Degree to Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Programs – A national review. Poster

Gorton, K. (2015) Sigma Theta Tau International – Biennial Convention – Engagement of Clinical Teaching Faculty in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: What really occurred. Poster and presentation.

Earnest, M, Franson, K,  Madigosky, W,  GORTON, K; BRUNSON, D; SOLANYK, D; NORDON-CRAFT, A; HANSEN, J.  (2015) Collaborating Across Borders V. Using CATME, an Online Electronic Peer Assessment and Feedback Tool , to Assess Individual and Team Performance in a Longitudinal IPE Course. Podium.

EARNEST, M. MADIGOSKY, W.,  FRANSON, K., ; GORTON, K., ; BRUNSON, D., SOLANYK, D.,  NORDON-CRAFT, A.,  HANSEN, J. (2015) Collaborating Across Borders V. The Rapid Evolution of a Large Longitudinal IPE Course through Continuous Quality Improvement. Podium.

SOLANYK, D., MADIGOSKY, W., EARNEST, M., FRANSON, K., BARTON, A., NORDON-CRAFT, A., GORTON, K., BRUNSON, D., ; Dr. GLOVER, J., (2015). Collaborating Across Borders V. Merging of Relevant IPE Themes from a Longitudinal Curriculum to Create a Capstone Project. Poster.

Glover, J. HANSON, J.,  MADIGOSKY, W.,  FRANSON, K., BRUNSON, D., SOLANYK, D.,  NORDON-CRAFT, A.,  GORTON, K., EARNEST, M. (2015). Collaborating Across Borders V. Interprofessional Ethics Education using Team Based Learning (TBL). Podium.

MADIGOSKY, W., EARNEST, M., FRANSON, K., GLOVER, J., . SOLANYK, D., BARTON, A.,  BRUNSON, D., GORTON, K., NORDON-CRAFT, A.  (2015). Collaborating Across Borders V.  Individual and Team Outcomes from an Interprofessional Course Focusing on Teamwork/Collaboration, Values/Ethics, and Safety/Quality at the University of Colorado. Podium.

Bonini, S., Gorton, K., Preheim, G. (2015, June). National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers Conference, Denver, CO. The integrated nurse pathway to a Baccalaureate Education: A collaborative model with community colleges and universities. Podium.

Gorton, K., LaSala, K. (2015, July). Clinical placement crisis – how an atypical partnership can be created to help.   Nurse Educators Conference in the Rockies

Ward, J., Gorton, K. (2015, July). Transforming practice through RN to BS quality improvement projects. Nurse Educators Conference in the Rockies

LaSala, K.B, Gorton, K.L. (2013) Academic transitional issues: Moving from associate degree to baccalaureate degree nursing programs. Professional Nurse Educators Group Conference (PNEG) POSTER


Funded projects

2018    University of Colorado College of Nursing – Standardized Patient Program (SPP) continuation funding for academic year 2017-2018. $54,000. Budget and proposal development/modification. CON funding

2017    Lead Academic Advisor Role. Development of position to establish advisor to work with students who have experienced interruptions in their program. Funded internally for $24,000 annually.  CON funding.

2016    Standardized Patient Program – Collaborative development of and implementation of standardized patients for students in Mental Health Nursing. $100,000. Co-PI. CON funding.

2015-2016     Area of Excellence – Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Proposal development and successful funding to establish the Area of Excellence within the College of Nursing. Goal is to develop the scholarship of teaching and learning. Proposal outlined structure of the center, center, grant criteria and parameters for funding. $20,000 CON funding

2014 – 2015   PI, Sigma Theta Tau International, “Accentuating the “I’s” and eliminating the “D’s”: Inducements and discouragements for students transitioning from Associate Degree to Baccalaureate Degree Nursing Programs – A national review”. Funded – $9854.00