Nursing Research Matters!

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN

At The Ohio State University College of Nursing, our faculty are spearheading important research that is making a difference in lives, improving population health and well-being, and decreasing health care costs. Our faculty have over $3 million of funded grants from the National Institutes of Health to conduct cutting-edge research to improve outcomes in vulnerable populations.   

Research that nurses conduct is focused on solving real-world problems in real time. A substantial number of our research studies, conducted by faculty in our Martha S. Pitzer Center for Women, Children and Youth, focus on optimizing health and well-being of pregnant women and infants, such as a study funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to evaluate whether a cognitive behavioral skills building healthy lifestyle intervention for pregnant minority women experiencing emotional distress can improve maternal, birth and infant outcomes that Dr. Susan Gennaro, dean of the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College, and I are collaborating on together.

Dr. Carmen Giurgescu is also funded by NIMHD to determine how social stressors alter inflammation during pregnancy and lead to pre-term birth in African American women. With funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research, Dr. Christine Fortney is working to reduce distress in parents of critically ill infants who are at high risk for dying. In a study funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, Dr. Laureen Smith is testing the use of peer mentors in Appalachian schools to increase physical activity and decrease childhood obesity.

Other areas of research being conducted by faculty in our Center for Critical and Complex Care include health issues of older patients, such as an NIH-funded study by Dr. Loren Wold entitled “Mechanisms of exposure–induced functional and pathological changes in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease” that may help find early markers for Alzheimer’s disease. With funding from NIH, Dr. Mary Beth Happ has developed an evidence-based intervention to improve communication between critically ill patients and their families. These are but a small sample of the trailblazing studies conducted in the College of Nursing at Ohio State.

Nursing research matters; it makes a real-world impact. After research is generated, it is critical to rapidly translate it into clinical practice in the form of evidence-based care to improve outcomes. Sadly, it takes numerous years, often decades, to move evidence generated from research into clinical practice. In order to see improvements in health care and patient outcomes, it is critical to decrease this research-practice time gap. The Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for Evidence-based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare, also housed at our College of Nursing, works with health care institutions across the nation and globe to speed up the translation of research findings into clinical settings to improve the quality of care, reduce costs and improve population health outcomes. Nursing research matters; without it, we could not have the highest quality of evidence-based care and find solutions to the nation’s most pressing health problems.  

Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk is Vice President for Health Promotion, University Chief Wellness Officer, Dean and Professor, College of Nursing, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Executive Director, The Helene Fuld Health Trust National Institute for EBP, The Ohio State University.

This blog post is part of a series focusing on different aspects of nursing research in recognition of National Nurses Week. Visit for more information.

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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