Research Focused on Nursing Takes Targeted Approach

Between 2003 and 2005, the RWJF Program Management Team on nursing funded small, targeted, solicited research projects on how to improve the workplace for nurses and outcomes for patients.

Project researchers, who received contracts from RWJF, produced 13 reports, targeted toward nurses, hospital administrators, researchers and policy-makers, that addressed the steps organizations are taking to recruit and retain nurses, what nurses say keeps them working at the bedside and how to build on previous work measuring nursing performance.

"The impetus for funding all these projects, including those focusing on performance measurement, was to address the nursing shortage," said Lori Melichar, the RWJF director in charge of the project.

Key Results

  • Five teams researched factors that might impact nurse motivation to leave or remain in their jobs including education, fringe benefits, hazards in the physical work environment and recognition for hospitals with excellent nursing care.

    • Three of the teams published papers based on their research in peer-reviewed journals by March 2008. A book chapter on a fourth project was in press at that time.
  • Eight teams researched nursing performance measurement. Their papers—intended for the research community—pointed to areas where future research and funding were needed and highlighted research challenges that remained.

    • RWFJ awarded a grant to Sage Publications to support an April 2007 supplemental issue of the peer-reviewed journal Medical Care Research and Review, in which articles on seven of these projects appeared.