Clinical Associate Professor
Director, Institute for Palliative and End of Life Care


(414) 288-3848

Specialization / Certification

Specialized training: End of Life Nursing Education Consortium Trainer, Education in Palliative and End of Life Care Trainer

Certification: Advanced Public Health Nursing

Highest Degree
Doctor of Nursing Practice, Rush University, Chicago IL

Brief Statement of Scholarly Interests
Areas of scholarly interest include palliative, hospice and end of life care, community and home health, interdisciplinary and interprofessional education, doctorate of nursing practice, online learning and technology.

Titles of Courses Recently Taught

Selected Publications

Petersen, C. L., Breakwell, S., & Callahan, M. (2014). Palliative and end-of-life care precepts and ethics for the orthopaedic population. Orthopaedic Nursing Journal 33 (3). 127-134. DOI: 10.1097/NOR.0000000000000044.

Levin, P., Swider, S., Breakwell, S., Cowell, J. & Reising,V. (2013). Embracing a competency based specialty curriculum for community-based nursing roles. Public Health Nursing 30.  doi: 10.1111/phn.12042

Phillips, M., Breakwell, S., Faut-Callahan, M., Kim, M. (2012). Clinical observation reflections from students in an interdisciplinary palliative care course. Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 14 (4), 274-282.

Callahan, M., Breakwell, S. & Suhayda, R. (2011). Knowledge of palliative and end-of-life care by student registered nurse anesthetists. American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Journal 79 (4) Special Research Edition. S15-S20.

Breakwell, S. & Riendeau, D. (2011) Section 15: End-of-life. In Neal-Boylan, L.( Ed.) Nursing Case Studies in Home Health Care. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Breakwell, S. (2009). Exemplar Domain 1, Guideline 1.3: Education: Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Education Framework. In National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, Clinical practice guidelines for quality palliative care (p. 25). Pittsburgh, PA: National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care.

Swider, S., Levin, P., Cowell, J., & Breakwell, S. Holland, P. & Wallinder, J. (2009). Community/Public Health Nursing Practice Leaders’ Views of the Doctorate of Nursing Practice. Journal of Public Health Nursing 26 (5), 405-411.

Breakwell, S. & O'Rourke, M. (2009). Community outreach. In Neal-Boylan, L. (Ed.), Home health care nursing: Trends, issues and research (2nd Edition). Washington, DC: Home Care University, affiliate of Home Healthcare Nurses Association and National Association for Home Care and Hospice.

Ailey, S. A., O’Rourke, M., Breakwell, S., & Murphy, A. (2008). Supporting a community of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in grieving, Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 10 (5).

Swider, S., Levin, P., Ailey, S., Breakwell, S., Cowell, J., McNaughton, D. & O’Rourke, M. (2006). Matching a graduate curriculum in public/community health nursing to practice competencies: The Rush University experience. Public Health Nursing 23 (2). 190 – 195.

Breakwell, S. (2004). Connecting new nurses and home care. Home Health Care Management and Practice, 16 (2). 117-121.

Grants or Awards

Project Consultant, Faculty, Integrating Palliative Oncology Care into DNP Curricula. The goal of this project is to develop and disseminate Palliative Oncology Care curricula for DNP faculty to be able to integrate into their programs and to better prepare DNP students or incorporating palliative oncology care into their advanced roles. Funded 2013-2015, NIH-NCI, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope, Duarte CA (Project Investigator: Betty Ferrell).

Project Investigator, Palliative Care in African American Communities: Focus Group Study. The goal of this project is to explore perceptions of a sample of African Americans in Greater Milwaukee area communities about palliative care through facilitated focus groups, which will lay the groundwork for the development of palliative care educational and outreach programs that are community oriented and culturally relevant. Funded 2013-2014, Greater Milwaukee Foundation (Project Investigators: Margaret Faut Callahan, Ronda Hughes).

Project Co-director, “Deep Listening”. The purpose of this project is to explore meaning and issues related to chronic disease, palliative care, spirituality, and the end of life through hosting of Deep Listening, a live theater experience for students, faculty and staff of Marquette University and the Greater Milwaukee community that will serve as a creative venue for reflection, expression, and dialogue about important issues surrounding serious illness, palliative care, and end of life). Funded AY 2012-2013, Edward Simmons Religious Commitment Fund, Marquette University. (Project Co-director: M. Heimbach, Gesu Parish)

Project Director, Interdisciplinary Palliative Care Education Program. National Cancer Institute (R25 Education grant), $1.2M, funded 2005-2011, Rush University College of Nursing, (Principle Investigator: Margaret Faut Callahan).

Project Team Member & Course Director, Interdisciplinary Teams in PACE. Programs of All Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE), funded 2010-2011, Rush University. (Project Team: Stan Lapidos, Steven Rothschild, Lois Halstead, Cathy Catrambone,, Robyn Golden, Kathy Keim, Chris Zakrzewski).

Professional Memberships



College of Nursing Mission Statement

Through a transformational Catholic, Jesuit education, Marquette University College of Nursing prepares nurse leaders to promote health, healing and social justice for all people through clinical practice and development of nursing knowledge.