Interdisciplinary Research that Demonstrates the Role of Nurses in Improving the Quality of Care

Since its inception in 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) has sought to identify specific ways nurses affect patient care quality and outcomes. Over five years,the program supported interdisciplinary teams that involved nursing scholars and scholars from other disciplines in research projects—from the conceptual study design to the adoption in practice of new measures of standards of care. The final grant solicitation was conducted in 2010.

This report highlights the groundbreaking and important work of the 40 grantees supported by INQRI. The program was led by Mary Naylor, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Mark Pauly, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania, in partnership with Lori Melichar, PhD, and her colleagues at RWJF.

Researchers investigated such topics as nurses’ roles in avoiding hospital readmissions; addressing hospitalized patients’ risks for falls; reducing patients' pressure ulcers; improving pain outcomes; resolving medication discrepancies; and the effects of nurse staffing and skill mix on patient outcomes.

“INQRI research provides a robust body of results that can be shared with policy-makers, hospital administrators and others who determine how nursing resources will be distributed to improve the quality and outcomes of patient care,” wrote the report authors.