We've Come a Long Way

In this issue of Johns Hopkins Nursing, we take a new look at the state of the art and science of nursing research today.

Our articles explore the unique perspective nurses bring to research (“Curious Mind,” page 25); the strength of patient-centered research (“Discover a Better way to Care,” page 28); and the timely translation of research into action and enhanced nursing practice (“Making Research Relevant,” page 35).

This view of nursing research today encourages us to look back on the phenomenally successful growth and progress in Hopkins Nursing’s contributions to nursing science. I’m reminded of the old song and mantra of ’70s social movements with a slight edit: “We’ve come a long way, nurse scientists!”

At the beginning of our journey, when the School was in its infancy and led by Dean Carol Gray (1983-1994), our emphasis was to build the curriculum and the faculty. As we entered our teens, Dean Sue Donaldson (1994-2001) led us in expanding our research capabilities, infrastructure, and the Pinkard building. When I was appointed interim dean and then named dean – after serving 10 years in the leadership role of Director of the Center for Nursing ResearchÑmy charge was to take the School into adulthood and ensure it would be a fully credible and productive member of the Johns Hopkins University enterprise. To achieve that goal, a continued expansion of research and nursing science was, without a doubt, a core essential.

Today, through the expert and highly successful partnership of Associate Dean for Research Jerilyn Allen, who directed the School’s Center for Nursing Research from 2002 to 2006, and Dr. Gayle Page, the current director of what is now the Center for Nursing Research and Sponsored Projects, we are achieving that essential. As the driving forces behind an amazing upward trajectory in research success, Gayle and Jeri have led us to the position of #6 among nursing schools receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health, according to FY08 data.

We’re eagerly anticipating the FY09 results since during that fiscal year (July ’08 through June ’09) we submitted 78 grant/sponsored project applications. (In the calendar year 2009 – January through December – we submitted an extraordinary 93 grant/sponsored project applications). Our total dollars awarded for FY09 rose to just over $7 million from all sponsored awards. Most importantly, today 86% of our research track faculty have extramural funding – that’s 67% of assistant professors and 100% of professors and associate professors.

As Scott Zeger, PhD, vice provost of research for Johns Hopkins, explains in “A Curious Mind,” page 25, “At Johns Hopkins, we believe that education is inextricably tied to discovery. Unlike many schools of nursing, ours has built its own research infrastructure. They have a research office that’s really admired and envied across the university.”

Johns Hopkins Nursing – this small school in the Hopkins family – is now very much a credible and productive member of the Johns Hopkins [research-intensive] University enterprise.

We’ve not only come a long way, we’re now playing in the Hopkins big leagues!

Martha N. Hill, PhD, RN, FAAN, ’64
Professor of Nursing, Medicine and Public Health

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