Nursing Research: Beyond the Expected

Janean E. Holden, PhD, RN, FAAN

The University of Michigan School of Nursing (UMSN) is a research-intensive school and our scientists investigate diverse topics that have tremendous implications for patients.

In the past year, we submitted 140 grant applications to federal agencies, foundations, and internal funding sources. Our success rate across agencies averages around 33%, well beyond the 5-15% rate seen among the various NIH institutes. We increased our funding by almost three million dollars this year and have a total research funding level of 47 million dollars.

But beyond the facts and figures of funding is the impact of our research. We have projects that challenge stereotypes about the role of nursing while improving care for vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad. Examples include improving pelvic floor function for obstetrical issues and for victims of rape; working with local police departments to prevent deaths from opioid overdoses through administration of nasal naloxone; using interventions to reduce homelessness recidivism; and discovering ways to reduce chronic disease in low wage service workers.

Nursing is increasingly taking the lead on matters of patient care. For example, UMSN was recently named as the National Program Office for the National Alliance for Cancer leading six influential academic health centers to help improve the delivery of care for cancer patients.

We remain true to our core in research that has direct effects on patients such as advancing patient safety by improving communication between doctors and nurses; using exercise to improve health in older patients with COPD; examining ways to reduce debilitating fatigue in cancer patients; and translating basic science findings to clinical patients to prevent chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain.

Health promotion is a foundation of nursing and it’s reflected in UMSN projects such as preventing falls in older adults; developing a parenting intervention to prevent childhood obesity in pre-school children; preventing hearing loss in farmers; testing care models to improve maternal and newborn health in areas of the world that lack human resources; and developing interventions to prevent HIV.

Nursing research is also embracing Big Data. UMSN has researchers studying big data sets and computational modeling to explain how Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and using large data sets to examine alternative solutions for back pain among Medicare patients.

Through individual projects, centers and a variety of focus areas, UMSN is proud to represent robust science with patient care at the heart of all we do.

As you can see, the University of Michigan is rocking research!  Go Blue!

Janean E. Holden, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Barbara A. Therrien Collegiate Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research and Rackham Graduate Programs at the University of Michigan School of Nursing

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco