Authors

  1. Blegen, Mary A. PhD, RN, FAAN

Article Content

Scholars are skeptics. We approach all things critically, just like we were taught. This constant questioning is an important part of knowledge production. We scrutinize methods and potential sources of bias, but our most critical comments are often reserved for the funding source. Sociology of science highlights the role of funding sources in knowledge development, often by criticizing the direction it is taking. I have uttered my share of skeptical remarks, but I wish to take a different approach here. Acknowledging the risks of omission, I want to sing praises for two funding agencies that are providing valuable support and direction for developing knowledge crucial to the quality and safety of patient care.

 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has long supported developing nurse leaders, scholars, and clinicians. They have also supported large and imaginative projects to improve hospital care, the most recent is Transforming Care at the Bedside. The program emphasized here is their Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative that directly advances nursing science. This initiative is producing a body of work that explores new avenues in quality and safety, rigorously tests existing ideas, and evaluates the effects of patient-centered, nurse-driven interventions. Working within a strict timeline, 29 teams are addressing a wide range of topics from the measurement of nursing-sensitive outcomes, intervention in specific patient problems, the structure (staffing and care protocols) of the healthcare system, to health policy decisions (http://www.inqri.org/). Nurse researchers should join in singing praises to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for supporting the development of knowledge for nursing.

 

Only 4 years ago, The Betty Irene Moore Nursing Initiative began funding projects to improve the quality of nursing care in California, and it is having an impact on nursing care and on patient safety. They began by increasing the production of nurse faculty to increase the number of students accepted to nursing schools. This focus broadened to include programs that improved teaching through coordinating clinical experiences, teaching with simulation, and support for new graduates. Then, this initiative supported projects that directly changed care systems in hospitals to improve patient outcomes. The Moore Foundation promotes the quality and safety of nursing care, nursing leadership, interdisciplinary team communication, and, more broadly, collaboration among hospitals to improve care (http://www.moore.org/bayarea.aspx). These projects profoundly affect nursing's image as a vital player in patient safety and quality of patient care; by encouraging thorough evaluation of each project, they contribute to knowledge building as well. These are truly praiseworthy results.

 

As scholars, we must remain skeptical in assessing knowledge and plans for advancing knowledge. However, we also need to recognize and thank benefactors who support these endeavors and provide direction to our science. They contribute in very valuable ways to the knowledge underlying the heart of healthcare-nursing.

 

Mary A. Blegen, PhD, RN, FAAN

 

Professor and Director of the Center for Patient Safety

 

School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco

 

Mary.Blegen@nursing.ucsf.edu

 

Note: Dr. Blegen has received support from both of these organizations for her research.