Interdisciplinary Research Team at Rutgers College of Nursing Receives $300,000 Grant to Create a Program to Improve Nurse Managers’ Skills

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Grant is One of Six Announced by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation InterdisciplinaryNursing Quality Research Initiative

Nurse managers with strong leadership skills are crucial to high quality patient care and ensuring patient safety. Weaknesses in a nurse manager’s skills can contribute to an environment that threatens patient safety. Now, a multidisciplinary team of researchers, headed by Linda Flynn, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN., associate dean for graduate education at Rutgers College of Nursing and Joel Cantor, Sc.D., director of the Center for State Health Policy at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research at Rutgers, has received a $300,000 18-month grant to design a leadership development program for nurse managers to improve patient care and safety.

The team will test a new program, the Nurse Manager in Action Program (N-MAP), with 40 nurse managers in 20 hospitals. N-MAP consists of five monthly interactive workshops addressing a variety of leadership skills, ending with a “train-the-trainer” session. The team will also develop a workshop tool kit and a workbook/curriculum to facilitate replication in other hospitals and health care settings. Following the program, researchers will examine its impact on nurses’ work environments, safety processes and adverse patient events.

The research team is working with award-wining journalist and patient safety advocate Suzanne Gordon, who will help disseminate information about N-MAP, including focusing her next book on the importance of developing nurse managers’ leadership skills and strategies for implementation. The Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers will help the research team share the policy implications of the study and promote replication of N-MAP in other hospitals.

This is one of six grants announced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI). The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation created INQRI in order to address gaps in knowledge about nursing’s effect on quality of care and to leverage opportunities for research that would identify nurses’ contributions to improving patients’ health and safety. This is the fifth cohort of INQRI grantees.

Over the past four years, INQRI grants have supported research to establish links between nursing and the quality of care delivered to people within and across a variety of health care settings. Each new INQRI research team receives an 18-month grant of up to $300,000 to support a project that explores the relationship between nursing and health care with a focus on developing evidence on how to disseminate and implement programs that are known to be effective. INQRI will share the results of this research with policy-makers, hospital administrators and others who make decisions about how nursing resources are distributed to improve quality and patient outcomes.

“We are very excited about the potential contributions of this year’s cohort of grantees,” said INQRI Program Director Mary D. Naylor, Ph.D., R.N, F.A.A.N., who is the Marian S. Ware professor in Gerontology at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, which administers the program. “Nurses represent the single largest group of health professionals delivering hospital care, but our knowledge of their contributions to ensuring that care is safe, beneficial, patient-centered, efficient and equitable is woefully inadequate. INQRI is working to change that. This year’s grantees will help us disseminate proven nurse-led interventions and implement successful programs in new settings to improve patient safety and health care quality. This work falls directly in line with the recent recommendations of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine.”

On October 5, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a landmark report on The Future of Nursing. The report’s recommendations include fostering interprofessional collaboration and preparing and enabling nurses to lead change. By requiring research teams to include a nurse scholar and at least one scholar from another discipline, INQRI not only fosters interprofessional collaboration, the Initiative also ensures that diverse perspectives are brought to bear in research.

This year’s INQRI grantees are working on a wide range of research projects from designing a nurse manager development program to increase patient safety, to testing a nursing intervention using a substance abuse screening tool, to implementing a fall prevention program targeted to patient risk factors. All of the projects address creation, implementation and dissemination of plans, protocols, policies and resources.

The other grantees are:

Michele Balas, Ph.D., R.N., A.P.R.N.-N.P., C.C.R.N., University of Nebraska Medical Center and William Burke, M.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center, principal investigators, Implementation and Dissemination of an Interdisciplinary Nurse-Led Plan to Manage Delirium in Critically Ill Adults;

Susan Beck, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., F.A.A.N., University of Utah and Nancy Dunton, Ph.D., Kansas University Medical Center, principal investigators, Dissemination and Implementation of Evidence-Based Methods to Measure and Improve Pain Outcomes;

Nancy Hanrahan, Ph.D., R.N., University of Pennsylvania and Phyllis Solomon, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, principal investigators, Translation of a Transitional Care Nursing Intervention for People with Serious Mental Illness;

Robin Newhouse, Ph.D., M.S., M.G.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore and Bonnie Spring, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., Northwestern University, principal investigators, Nurse-Led Intervention to Improve Screening and Treatment for Substance Abuse: An RCT of Hospitals; and

Maria Titler, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., University of Michigan School of Nursing and Paul Conlon, Pharm.D., J.D., Trinity Health, principal investigators, Implementation of a Risk Specific Fall Prevention Bundle to Reduce Falls in Hospitals.

The Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. To learn more, visit

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 improving the health and health care of all Americans, we work with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years we’ve brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those we serve. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, we expect to make a difference in your lifetime.