Rita H. Pickler, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, FAAN

Nurse Scientist, Patient Services

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Professor Emerita, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Phone: 513-803-5064


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Preterm infant care; prematurity prevention; transition to home; biobehavioral research 


Rita H. Pickler, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, FAAN, is a nurse scientist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She has over 30 years of clinical, teaching, and research experience and was most recently endowed alumni professor and former department chair and acting associate dean for research at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Pickler has over 20 years of funding to study the care of the preterm infant. Her most recently completed National Institute of Health funded study tested the effect of four feeding approaches on feeding performance and clinical outcomes in preterm infants. Her current National Institute of Health funded study will test the effect of a patterned caregiving experience on neurobehavioral organization and neurobehavioral development in preterm infants.

Dr. Pickler also studies women in the prenatal period and is particularly interested in the effect of maternal wellbeing on pregnancy outcomes. She also studies the transition-to-home from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and is interested in testing interventions that ease this transition and reduce parental stress and anxiety as well as adverse infant outcomes. Dr. Pickler is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and is co-chair of the Child / Adolescent / Family Expert Panel. Among other professional involvement, she is also a member of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nursing, the Midwest Nursing Research Society, the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, for whom she is Chair of the Research Committee. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Theta Tau. Dr. Pickler has provided service to the National Institutes of Health for over 10 years as a reviewer for numerous scientific review panels. She is currently chair of the Nursing Research Review Committee, the National Institute of Nursing Research’s standing review panel. She is a professor emerita at Virginia Commonwealth University and adjunct faculty at the Ohio State University. She received her BS and MS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her PhD from the University of Virginia where she was the first Barbara Brodie Scholar. 

Education and Training

PhD: University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 1990.

MS: University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 1981.

BS: University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 1979.


View PubMed Publications.


Bottle feeding readiness in preterm infants. Principal Investigator. National Institute of Nursing Research. 2006 - 2012. #1R01 NR005182.

Patterned experience for preterm infants. Principal Investigator.  National Institute of Nursing Research. 2011 -2016. #1 R01 NR012307.