Future of Nursing National Research Agenda Announces Four New Grantees

Primary care workforce study nears completion; new grantees will examine scope of practice regulations, nurse residency programs.

    • June 11, 2013

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) created the Future of Nursing National Research Agenda in 2012 to support research that would inform implementation of recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s groundbreaking report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The project is coordinated by RWJF’s Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI).

To date, five proposals have been funded. One, co-funded by the Donaghue Foundation, is designed to determine how emerging models of primary care, such as the nurse-managed health center, will affect primary care workforce needs. Led by David Auerbach, MS, PhD, a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, it is nearing completion.

Four new studies on scope of practice regulations and nurse residency programs were funded in May:

  • A team from the University of Pennsylvania will examine the impact of the provision of the Prescription for Pennsylvania law that removed practice barriers for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The research team will evaluate the development and architecture of the bill, and the success of the provision in expanding access to health care, particularly in medically underserved communities.
  • A team from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston will evaluate the effect of state regulations on APRN and physician teamwork and collaboration, and patient outcomes. Researchers will compare six states with the most restrictive regulations on APRN practice to the ten states that have the least restrictive regulations.
  • A team from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston will examine whether loosening state restrictions on scope of practice for nurse practitioners affects cost, quality or access to care, and brings more nurse practitioners into a state. The research team also will examine what role organizations play in interpreting regulations.
  • A team from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill will evaluate the University HealthSystem Consortium/American Association of Colleges of Nursing Nurse Residency Program (NRP) to determine the return on investment for nurse residency programs, and the entities to which returns accrue. The NRP provides a standardized curriculum that supports baccalaureate and higher degree graduates, has been evaluated in a ten-year study that demonstrated positive outcomes, and has been implemented nationwide in hospitals, health care systems, and as a state-wide nurse residency model.

“The results of these studies are invaluable to efforts to advance nursing and improve health care in our nation,” said Mary Naylor, PhD, FAAN, RN, Marian S. Ware Professor in Gerontology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and co-director of the INQRI program. “We’re proud to be a part of the effort to implement the recommendations of the IOM report and to support efforts to ensure that  all Americans have access to high-quality, patient-centered health care, with nurses contributing to the full extent of their capabilities.”

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