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J Prof Nurs. 2008 Nov-Dec;24(6):329-36. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2007.10.010.

Capacity for the advancement of nursing science: issues and challenges.

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University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether nursing is meeting its espoused goals of scientific development of the discipline and preparation for academic careers. With a comparative cross-sectional design, data on research funding, faculty number and characteristics, and the published literature across nursing, public health, and medicine were analyzed. Significant differences were found among the groups in terms of the number of National Institutes of Health research grants and the amount of funding awarded, as well as the number of faculty. The number of faculty significantly predicted the number of National Institutes of Health awards for all disciplines (R(2) = .666, P < .000). Within nursing, the number of full-time doctoral faculty was also significant (R(2) = .531, P < .000). The conclusion reached was that the current system for doctoral education in nursing does not prepare the number of graduates necessary to either replace retiring faculty or expand capacity. The lack of nurses with doctoral degrees affects the discipline's ability to generate and use high-impact science. Among the strategies for improvement were leveraging existing research-intensive schools by augmenting doctoral faculty and expanding the capability of nurses to engage in clinical scholarship through the new clinical doctorate, the doctor of nursing practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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