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IU School of Nursing awarded Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to study doctoral education

Dean Marion Broome
Dean Marion Broome

Published:

October 5, 2012

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Indiana University School of Nursing has been awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Evaluating Innovations in Nursing Education grant in support of a study examining the stages of decision-making that lead to careers in nursing education. Findings will be used to develop strategies for increasing enrollment in doctoral programs as well as the numbers of graduates who seek and are retained in faculty roles.

The study, “Exploring the State of Doctoral Education: Implications for the Nursing Faculty Shortage,” is led by School of Nursing assistant professor Kristina Thomas Dreifuerst. Co-investigators on the study are Dean Marion Broome; associate professor Angela McNelis; and professors Claire Draucker and Michael Weaver.

“This was a highly competitive grant process from a prestigious organization. We are honored to have one of the few research proposals selected for this notable funding,” Dreifuerst said.

“This is a critical time in nursing education," she said. "The shortage of faculty, particularly doctorally prepared faculty, impacts all aspects of the nursing discipline. While this is not a new problem, new solutions are necessary to move forward. This research will be instrumental in helping to address these needs and develop innovative solutions for them.”

The study will investigate the decisions that MSN-prepared nurse educators make when seeking a doctoral degree; those factors informing decisions of doctoral students choosing between a Ph.D. and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree; decisions of doctoral students to seek faculty positions; satisfaction of recent doctoral graduates with academic and/or practice roles; and intentions of recent graduates to stay in their current roles.

“The data gathered will allow us to develop effective strategies for increasing doctoral enrollment in pursuit of faculty placement,” Dreifuerst said.

The Institute of Medicine Report "The Future of Nursing" has indicated that identifying solutions to address the shortage of nursing faculty and doctorally prepared nurses in the United States is a priority.

“This research proposal addresses six areas of need that are critical to achieving the recommendations from the IOM report on 'The Future of Nursing': one, teaching productivity in nursing education; two, faculty preparation in nursing education; three, the shortage of doctorally prepared nursing faculty; four, career decision-making among doctoral students in nursing; five, effectiveness of strategies for leveraging the expertise of existing faculty to teach more doctoral and undergraduate students in nursing; and six, strategies to improve recruitment and retention efforts for nurse faculty,” Dreifuerst said.

According to Broome, “We are one of only five studies funded this cycle through an extremely competitive process, and it’s very exciting to be able to further investigate the nursing faculty shortage and relevant mitigating circumstances. The results of this study will have a tremendous impact on the way the discipline mentors nurses and helps them to define their career paths in nursing education.”

About the IU School of Nursing

The Indiana University School of Nursing is the largest nursing school with undergraduate to Ph.D. and DNP programs in the country. The School of Nursing was recently ranked ninth among public institutions for National Institutes of Health funding, and U.S. News & World Report ranked the school’s graduate programs 15th in the nation. The school also carries two designations as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care, the foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, measurable and timely change. For 40 years, the foundation has brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.