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Verna Hendricks-Ferguson, Ph.D., RN, FPCN, FAAN

Irene Riddle Endowed Chair

Courses Taught

Undergraduate and Graduate Nursing


  • B.S.N., Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • M.S.N., Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Ph.D., Rush University
  • NIH-NINR T32 Funded Postdoctoral Fellowship, Indiana University

Research Interests

Dr. Hendricks-Ferguson's program of research has focused on making significant contributions to the pioneering study of palliative and end-of-life (PC/EOL) communication practices by pediatric oncology providers with parents of children with poor prognosis cancer. She has published research articles focused on PC/EOL pediatric provider communication practices and parental preferences to receive PC/EOL support during the care of children with cancer. Additionally, she has been honored with receiving several PC/EOL designated awards, including: (a) the first issued 'Distinguished Nurse Scientist Award' in 2018 by the Midwest Nursing Research Society's PC/EOL Research Interest Group; (b) two research writing awards by the Journal of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Nurses; and (c) inducted as a Fellow of Palliative Care Nursing and the American Academy of Nursing. 

Her research has been funded by foundations (i.e., Oncology Nursing Society Foundation; Alex Lemonade Children's Cancer Research Foundation). Her research has also been funded by the: (a) National Institute Health (NIH) & National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) (i.e., 3-year NIH-NINR T32 post-doc fellowship from 2005-2009); (b) by the NIH-NINR (i.e., PI for an R21 grant (R21NR011071) titled: Timely End-of-Life Communication to Parents of Children with Brain Tumors for 3 years from 2009-2012); and the (c) NIH and National Cancer Institute (i.e., MPI for an R01 grant (RO1CA235632) titled: Evaluation of the Communication Plan Early through End-of-Life (COMPLETE) Intervention for 5 years from 2019-2024.

Publications and Media Placements

Please follow this link to view select publications from Dr. Hendricks-Ferguson.

Honors and Awards

  • Distinguished Researcher Award (2022) - Association of Pediatric Oncology Nursing 
  • Research Institute Fellow (2022) - Saint Louis University
  • Nurse Research Award (2022) - St. Louis Magazine Excellence in Nursing
  • March of Dimes Nurse Legend Award (2019)
  • Distinguished Scientist Award (2018) - by the Midwest Nursing Research Society's Palliative and End-of-Life Research Interest Group
  • Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse (CHPPN) of the Year (2017) - by the Hospice and Palliative Nurse Credentialing Center
  • Research Writing Award (2016) - Association of Hematology/Oncology Pediatric Nurses
  • Fellow in Palliative Care Nursing (2015) - Hospice Palliative Nursing Foundation 
  • Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (2015) - American Academy of Nursing 
  • Leadership in Palliative Care (2015) - Hospice Palliative Nursing Foundation 
  • Best Research Manuscript Award (2014) - Midwest Nursing Research: Palliative and End of Life Care Research Interest Group
  • St. Louis Nurse Educator of the Year (2013) - St. Louis Magazine Excellence in Nursing 
  • Home and Palliative Nurse of the Year Award (2013) - Missouri March of Dimes
  • Pearl Moore Making a Difference Emerging Leadership Award (2013) - Oncology Nursing Society

Professional Organizations and Associations

  • American Nurses Association
  • Oncology Nursing Society
  • Association of Pediatric-Hematology Oncology Nurses
  • Hospice/Palliative Care Nursing Association
  • Sigma Theta Tau International
  • Midwest Nursing Research Society