RWJF Announces Most Influential Research Articles of 2011: Nurse Faculty Scholar Study is Among Them

Jan 30, 2012, 6:00 PM

The results are in! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) asked you to help choose the most influential research conducted by RWJF grantees in 2011, and the results have been announced. More than 2,200 people from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, voted.

Among those selected for the “Final 5” Most Influential Research Articles of 2011 was a study led by RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, JD, MPH, RN, CRNP, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. McHugh is the only nurse among the finalists.

The study, published in Health Affairs, found that nurses caring directly for patients in hospitals or nursing homes have higher job dissatisfaction and burnout than nurses in other settings. Patient satisfaction levels were also lower in settings in which more nurses were unhappy with their work environments.

“A good place for nurses to work is a good place for patients to receive care,” McHugh says. “Improving the work environment for nurses leads to more satisfied nurses who are more likely to stay in their job. Patients cared for in these environments have better health outcomes and are more satisfied with their care.”

McHugh published the study at the start of his term as an RWJF Scholar. “The Nurse Faculty Scholars program has been great,” he says. “It’s allowed me to expand my focus and move in new directions. I’m doing research that will help explain root causes of racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes based on where people live, where they get hospital care, and differences in nursing in the hospitals where they receive care.”

The other studies by RWJF Scholars that contributed significantly or influenced the field of research in 2011 are:

1. The Use of Twitter to Track Levels of Disease Activity and Public Concern in the U.S. During the Influenza A H1N1 Pandemic

By: A Signorini, AM Segre and PM Polgreen

During the H1N1 outbreak, the authors of this study monitored disease activity by analyzing public messages, "tweets," on the social networking site Twitter. The study established a model for monitoring disease outbreaks in real time.

2. Outcomes of Treatment for Hepatitis C Virus Infection by Primary Care Providers

By: S Arora, K Thornton, G Murata, P Deming, S Kalishman, D Dion, B Parish, T Burke, W Pak, J Dunkelberg, M Kistin, J Brown, S Jenkusky, M Komaromy and C Qualis

Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), a disruptive model of health education and delivery, makes the medical resources of academic medical centers available to treat and improve outcomes for rural HCV patients.

3. Evidence Links Increases In Public Health Spending To Declines In Preventable Deaths

By: GP Mays and SA Smith

This study found that mortality rates fell between 1.1 percent and 6.9 percent for each 10 percent increase in local public health spending.

4. Measuring the Health of Communities: How and Why?

By: PL Remington and BC Booske

Challenges to measuring population health exist, but as these authors note, attempting to measure the overall health of populations allows public health leaders to better allocate resources to areas of greatest need.

5. The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year

By: A Finkelstein, S Taubman, B Wright, M Bernstein, J Gruber, JP Newhouse, H Allen, K Baicker and the Oregon Health Study Group

Results from the first year of the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment show that people with health insurance have significantly higher health care utilization, lower out-of-pocket medical expenditures and medical debt, and better self-reported health.

Read more about McHugh’s study.

Read more about the finalists.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.