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College of Nursing receives grant to study doctoral faculty research productivity

Drs. Suzanne Smeltzer, Nancy Sharts-Hopko and Mary Ann Cantrell will study doctoral faculty research productivity through their new grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Villanova, PA, August 5, 2012-- The College of Nursing at Villanova University continues to contribute to nursing education through its scholarly endeavors. Its latest study, through the College’s Center for Nursing Research, is “The effect of teaching demands on research productivity of doctoral program faculty.”

This study is supported by a nearly $300,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Evaluating Innovations in Nursing Education program. Principal investigator Suzanne Smeltzer, EdD, RN, FAAN, professor and director of the Center, explains that the project aims to examine the research productivity and scholarship of faculty who teach and mentor doctoral students. She and her co-investigators, Mary Ann Cantrell, PhD, RN, professor and Nancy Sharts-Hopko, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and director of the PhD in Nursing program, also plan to assess perceptions of faculty and administrators about the effect of involvement in doctoral education and  specific barriers and benefits to their productivity associated with their involvement. 

The subject is a critical one for nursing education. The 2012 IOM report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, called for an increase in BSN-prepared nurses and doubling those with doctorates to teach future generations and conduct research. Simultaneously, nurse researchers are being asked to increase the scientific base of nursing practice needed to identify and evaluate nursing interventions to prevent illness and disability, increase patient safety, including medical errors, improve the quality of hospital-based care and prepare patients and their families to manage complex care at home. This balance can be tricky within a nursing program as faculty in today’s academic environment must be productive scholars yet continue to teach new nurses.

Through the study the researchers hope to ultimately identify successful strategies used by faculty to achieve work-life balance and to maintain research productivity. The study will examine nursing program characteristics including number of students and type of program, and other variables that correlate with success.

The Villanova University College of Nursing, established in 1953, is a nationally recognized premier nursing program under Catholic auspices with a mission to create a synergy between compassion and clinical excellence. Designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing, the College provides a values-based undergraduate education grounded in the liberal arts and sciences that prepares students to assume positions as productive, ethical, and socially responsible citizens and leaders providing care in clinical and community settings. Its reputation is solidified by its rigorous, top-ranked graduate program to prepare advanced practice nurses, administrators and nurse educators; its environment for faculty and student scholarship; its respected continuing nursing education program and the leadership contributions of its students, faculty and alumni in nursing and health care around the world.

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. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter or Facebook