Colby's Commentary

    • October 19, 2011


I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of nurse researchers both inside and outside the Foundation throughout my career and have been struck by the dedication, interest in practical problems and “get it done” attitudes that they bring to work every day. This issue of Evidence Matters is dedicated to the field of nursing, and those who study and work in it.

This month, nurses from around the country gathered at the American Academy of Nursing Meeting held in Washington D.C., to celebrate their past accomplishments, present current challenges through their research studies, and discuss plans for their future roles as the Affordable Care Act brings to the forefront nursing’s key role in improving quality of health care. It seems fitting, then, to take this opportunity to recognize their valuable contributions and to tell you more about the Foundation’s work in this field.

RWJF has a long-standing relationship with nurses. Linda Aiken, a leading nurse researcher, was the first Vice President of Research and Evaluation at the Foundation and recently the Foundation has built on that relationship to create programs such as:

Programs such as these, and other important nursing initiatives, reinforce the central role of nurses in providing and maintaining quality care in our health system.

Research produced through many of these programs as well as that funded by others was reviewed for inclusion in a new RWJF publication, The Nursing Profession: Development, Challenges and Opportunities (5th in the RWJF’s Health Policy Series). The Editors Diana J. Mason, Stephen L. Isaacs and I reviewed more than 200 research articles we felt represented the most influential studies in the field of nursing; 24 articles made the cut. Diana Mason wrote a comprehensive review of these studies, providing a clear and knowledgeable lens to view advances in the field.

In the introduction to The Nursing Profession [insert link], Dr. Mason uses her knowledge of nursing and health care issues to look at the nursing profession from Florence Nightingale’s perspective through the challenges facing nurses today. Topics include the nursing shortage, education and training, and quality and cost. Finally, she discusses how nurses can re-envision their roles for the future as the Affordable Care Act becomes a reality. Stephen Isaacs was fortunate enough to interview Dr. Mason [insert pdf here], and she, like Florence Nightingale (a/k/a the “Lady with the Lamp”), sheds her own light and insight on the challenges facing the profession today. Through this interview and subsequent articles in this issue of Evidence Matters, we provide a glimpse of what the world of nursing may look like in the future.