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College of Nursing

Faculty and Staff

Karen E. Wickersham, PhD, RN

Title: Assistant Professor/Interim Assistant Dean for Research
Department: Biobehavioral Health & Nursing Science
College of Nursing
Phone: 803-777-7635
Office: College of Nursing 
University of South Carolina 
1601 Greene Street, Room 618
Columbia, SC 29208-4001 
United States


Dr. Wickersham is an Assistant Professor, Tenure-Track at the University of South Carolina, College of Nursing. She is a core faculty member of the Cancer Survivorship Program. She received her BSN in 1991 from the University of Virginia, her MSN with a specialty in Nursing Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, and her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. Dr. Wickersham completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Nursing where she conducted her fellowship study, “Genetic, Clinical, and Biomarker Correlates of EGFR Inhibitor-related Rash” (NINR F32NR014753; American Nurses Foundation).

Research Interests

Dr. Wickersham’s program of research focuses on interventions to promote adherence to oral targeted therapy (OTT) and manage side effects of OTT to improve quality of life for individuals with advanced cancers who experience disparities in cancer care (e.g., race, age, rurality).

Her goal is to develop: 1) interventions for management of side-effects related to OTT use, including tailoring of those interventions (i.e., dose, duration, and timing), and 2) markers for response to those interventions. Her research expertise includes:

  • Symptoms related to oral targeted therapy
  • Adherence to oral cancer therapy
  • Aging and cancer
  • Health disparities

Ongoing Research

01/01/2021 – 12/31/2023: Disparities in utilization of oral targeted therapies for treatment of lung, colorectal, and breast cancer among adults living in South Carolina (Principal Investigator). Funded by the Oncology Nursing Foundation (Wickersham, PI).

07/01/2020 – 06/30/2022:  An Investigation of Racial and Geospatial Disparities in the Utilization, Adherence, and Economic Cost to Targeted Therapies for Breast Cancer (Co-Investigator). Funded by the Big Data Health Sciences Center (S. Adams, PI).

08/01/2020 – 12/31/2021: Addressing Disparities in Cancer for African American Men in South Carolina: A Train-the-Trainer Program (Principal Investigator). Funded by the South Carolina Cancer Alliance (K. Wickersham, PI).                    

07/30/2019: STORY-L (Survivors Tell Others and Renew Yourself-Leukemia): Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Rural Patients with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (Co-Investigator). Funded by the South Carolina DHHS, Rural Health Initiative (S. Heiney, PI).


Dr. Wickersham has experience teaching undergraduate (health assessment skills laboratory, evidence-based practice nursing) and graduate (organizational health systems, qualitative research, professional writing) students.

Professional Service

Dr. Wickersham is an ad hoc reviewer for Oncology Nursing Forum, Patient Preference and Adherence, Cancer Nursing, Geriatric Nursing, and Nursing Research. She has been a long-time, active member of the Oncology Nursing Society and is a also member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer, and the Southern Nursing Research Society.

Professional Practice

Dr. Wickersham practiced primarily in the intensive care setting, including trauma, solid organ transplant, medical-surgical, and neurosurgical specialties. 

Peer-reviewed Publications

Peer-reviewed manuscripts: * = data-based, ** = senior author & = student presentations, + = methodological presentations
*Yeung, C., Gilbertson-White, S., & Wickersham, K. E. (2021, accepted). “Live your life cuz everybody’s terminal:” Describing emotions and coping behaviors of rural advanced cancer patients." Journal of Rural Health.

*Heiney, S. P., Truman, S., Babatunde, O. A., Felder, T. M., Eberth, J. M., Crouch, E., Wickersham, K. E., & Adams, S. A. (2020). Racial and geographic disparities in endocrine therapy adherence among younger breast cancer survivors. The American Journal of Clinical Oncology. Epub 2020/04/07. doi: 10.1097/coc.0000000000000696. PubMed PMID: 32251120.

*Nahm, E.-S., Miller, M., McQuaige, M., Corbitt, N., Jaidar, N., Rosenblatt, P., Zhu, S., Son, H.-J., Hertsenberg, L., Wickersham, K., . . . Powell, K. (2019). Testing the impact of Cancer Survivorship Patient Engagement Toolkit (CaS-PET) on selected health outcomes of survivors who completed treatments with curative intent. Oncology Nursing Forum, 46(5), 572-584 DOI: 10.1188/19.ONF.572-584

*Jiang, Y., Wickersham, K. E., Zhang, X. Y., Barton, D. L., Farris, K. B., Krauss, J. C., & Harris, M. R. (2019). Side effect, self-management activities, and adherence to oral anticancer agents. Patient Preference and Adherence, 19, 2243-2252.

*Wickersham, K. E., Hodges, T. K., Edelman, M. J., Song, Y., Nan, M., & Dorsey, S. G. (2019). Differential gene expression in erlotinib-treated fibroblasts. Nursing Research, 68(2), 110-126. doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000330.

*Wickersham, K. E., Powell, K.,& Guterman, I., O’Malley, C., & Nahm, E.-S. (2019). Innovative use of patient portals during cancer survivorship: A first step. Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship, 10(3).

*Gilbertson-White, S., Yeung, C.W., & &Wickersham, K. E.** (2019). “Just living with them”: Rural residents’ experiences with cancer, cancer symptoms, and symptom management. Oncology Nursing Forum, 46(5), 531-542. doi: 10.1188/19.ONF.531-542

*Wickersham, K. E., Crothers, M., & Puth, D., & Weiss, M.N., & Powell, K., & & Resnick, B. (2019). Targeted therapy use in adults with cancer ≥ 85 years of age. Geriatric Nursing, 40, 63-66. DOI: org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2018.06.014.

*Wickersham, K. E., Sereika, S. M., Kang, H.-J., Tamres, L. K., & Erlen, J. A. (2018). Use of a self-report medication adherence scale for measuring adherence to antiretroviral therapy in patients with HIV/AIDS.  Journal of Nursing Measurement, 26(2), E72 – E88. DOI: 10.1891/1061-3749.26.2.E72. Epub 2018 Aug 1.

+Gilbertson-White, S., Bohr, N., & Wickersham, K. E.** (2017). Conducting biobehavioral research for patients with advanced cancer: recruitment challenges and solutions. Biological Research Nursing, 19(5), 481-490. DOI: 10.1177/1099800417709529 PMC5771405

*Wickersham, K. E., Happ, M. B., Bender, C. M., Engberg, S. J., Tarhini, A., & Erlen, J. A. (2014). Surviving with lung cancer:  medication-taking and oral targeted therapy. Geriatric Nursing, 35(2), S49-S56. DOI: 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2014.02.020. PMC3988629.

*Wickersham, K., Sereika, S. M., & Bender, C. M. (2013). Pretreatment predictors of short-term nonadherence to oral hormonal therapy for women with breast cancer. Nursing Research, 62(4), 243-251. DOI: 10.1097/NNR.0b013e318298fd70. PMC3723138.

Geynisman, D. M. & Wickersham, K. E. (2013). Adherence to targeted oral anticancer medications. Discovery Medicine, 15(83), 231-241.  

*Wickersham, K., Happ, M. B., & Bender, C. M. (2012). “Keeping the boogie man away”:  Medication self-management among women receiving anastrozole therapy. Nursing Research and Practice, 2012, 462121. DOI: 10.1155/2012/462121. PMC3543807.

*Wickersham, K., Colbert, A., Caruthers, D., Tamres, L., Martino, A., & Erlen, J. A. (2011). Assessing fidelity to an intervention in a randomized controlled trial to improve medication adherence. Nursing Research, 60(4), 264-269.  DOI: 10.1097/NNR.0b013e318221b6e6. PMC3138209.

*DiPaola, R.S., Rinehart, J., Nemunaitis, J., Ebbinghause, S., Rubin, E., Capanna, T., Ciardella, M., Doyle-Lindrud, S., Goodwin, S., Fontaine, M., Adams, N., Williams, A., Schwartz, M., Winchell, G., Wickersham, K., Deutsch, P., & Yao, S. -L. (2002). Characterization of a novel prostate-specific antigen-activated peptide-doxorubicin conjugate in patients with prostate cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 20, 1874-1879.  DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2002.07.001

Book Chapters
Wickersham, K. E
., & Dorsey, S. G. (2017). Chapter 9: Integration of genomics in nursing research: an example. In Using Nursing Research to Shape Health Policy, Grady, P. A., & Hinshaw, A. S., eds.  Springer Publishing Company, September 2016. 

Peer-reviewed, published abstracts of importance to the field: * = data-based, ** = senior author, & = student presentations, + = methodological presentations

*Wickersham, K., Adams, S. A., Sorrell, M.E., & Heiney, S. P. (2019). Adherence to oral targeted therapy for a cohort of women with breast cancer.  Supportive Care in Cancer, 27(Suppl 1): S1-S302.

*Sorrell, M., Wickersham, K. E., Adams, S. A., & Heiney, S. P. (2019). Racial disparities in setting of care in women with breast cancer in South Carolina. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 37, suppl (abstr e18146). 

*Griffith, K. A., Renn, C. L., Wickersham, K., Rietschel, M., Cornblath, D. R., Argyriou, A. A., Dorsey, S. G. ... the CI-PeriNOMS Group.  (2013). Provider perceptions of clinical neuropathy examination usefulness.  Proceedings: 2013 Meeting of the Peripheral Nerve Society. Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System, 18(Supplement 2): S42-43, June 2013.

*Wickersham, K., Happ, M. B., & Bender, C. M. (2011). Self-reported side effects and side effect severity regarding medication-taking for women with breast cancer taking oral aromatase inhibitor therapy [Abstract BU].  Oncology Nursing Forum, 38(1), A1-A90.  doi:  10.1188/11.ONF.E60

*Wickersham, K. (2009). A systematic review of literature related to measurement of adherence to oral cancer therapy [Abstract 3757]. Oncology Nursing Forum, 36(3), 1-81.

*Wickersham, K., Caruthers, D., Tamres, L., & Erlen, J. A. (2008).  Monitoring intervention implementation:  Quality assurance methods [Abstract]. In Erlen, J.A. (Chair), Intervention research:  from conceptualization to translation. National State of the Science Congress for Nursing Research of the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science Book of Proceedings.

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