Faculty & Staff Profile

Faculty/Staff Profile

Karen L. Schumacher, PhD, RN

Contact Information
University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)
College of Nursing - Omaha Division
985330 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198-5330
tel: (402) 559-2092
E-Mail: kschumacher@unmc.edu

Dr. Schumacher is a Professor in the College of Nursing and is Associate member in the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. She received her bachelor's degree in nursing from Vanderbilt University, her master's degree in community health nursing from the University of Colorado, and her PhD from the University of California, San Francisco. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Oregon Health and Sciences University. She has been a faculty member at Vanderbilt University, UCSF, and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Schumacher's clinical background is in home health care nursing.


  • Teaches Philosophy of Nursing Science and Qualitative Research Methods in the PhD program.
  • Advises PhD students
  • Previously taught community health nursing in traditional, accelerated, and second-degree BSN programs, nursing concepts and theory at the master’s and doctoral levels, and home care nursing at the master's level.


Dr. Schumacher's primary research interest is family caregiving during cancer treatment. Her specific focus is on the transition into the family caregiving role at the beginning of cancer treatment, how the role changes over the course of treatment, and what health effects caregivers experience over time.

A concurrent research interest is management of cancer pain by oncology outpatients and family caregivers. She was a co-investigator on a randomized clinical trial of a pain management nursing intervention based at UCSF. Her primary responsibility on this study was to lead its qualitative research component.

Areas of methodological expertise include qualitative research, model development and testing, and longitudinal mixed method research designs.

  • Currently PI of a study funded by the American Cancer Society (2013-2017) entitled “A Mixed Methods Study of Rural Family Caregiving during Cancer Treatment” (RSG-13-167-01-CPPB).
  • Currently co-PI of a multi-center study with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Boston College entitled “Development of the Head and Neck Cancer Caregiving Task Inventory” (2012-2015), funded by a UNMC College of Nursing Dean’s Grant.
  • Recently served as co-investigator on a randomized clinical trial based and UCSF, entitled “Improving Cancer Pain Management through Self-Care” (2007-2012; Christine Miaskowski, PI). Dr. Schumacher led the qualitative component of the trial through a subcontract from UCSF to UNMC (5R01 CA116423-01).

Professional Service/Recognition

  • Member of numerous professional organizations, including Oncology Nursing Society, Sigma Theta Tau, the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, and the American Nurses Association/Nebraska Nurses Association.
  • Serves on the IOM Committee on Family Caregiving for Older Adults, 2014-2016
  • Served as Content Expert, Family and Caregiver Research, Research Agenda Committee, Oncology Nursing Society, 2014.
  • Editorial Board member, Research in Nursing & Health
  • Manuscript reviewer for Research in Nursing & Health, Nursing Research, and Journal of Nursing Scholarship, and others as requested
  • Received the Donna Westmoreland Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Award (2010), The Pennie Z. David Faculty Research Award (2012), The Spirit of Shared Governance Award (2013), and the Rosalee C. Yeawoth Excellence in Teaching Award (2014) from the UNMC College of Nursing
  • Received a Distinguished Scientist Award from UNMC (2014)
  • Received the Oncology Nursing Society Excellence in Writing Award for Quantitative Nursing Research (2009)