Skip to main content

Rounds with Leadership - Why We Need to Talk About Nursing Science

Published April 26, 2017

Welcome to Rounds with Leadership, a new forum for AACN’s Board Chair and President/CEO to offer commentary on issues and trends impacting academic nursing.


Research is the foundation on which nursing practice is built. As academic nursing leaders, maintaining a robust pipeline of future researchers is essential to advancing evidence-based interventions, informing policy, and sustaining the health of the nation. Given this critical need, we were concerned to see that enrollments in PhD programs were down slightly for the second consecutive year (by 2% or 100 students) when results from AACN’s 2016 annual survey were released earlier this month.  A drop in the number of PhD students, no matter how small, cannot be ignored, and all stakeholders must redouble their efforts to ensure that interest and enrollment in research-focused doctoral programs remains high. 

To help raise awareness, AACN launched its Nursing Science Transforms campaign with three major goals in mind: to educate legislators and the public on how nursing science advances health and health care; to urge Congress to safeguard funding for federal research agencies; and to ignite interest in nursing research careers. AACN members understand the critical contributions that nursing research brings to multiple facets of healthcare delivery and policy development. We need to share these transformative innovations so that they are disseminated into the classroom and the practice environments where they will ultimately fulfill their mission of improving health outcomes for patients and families.

The need to showcase the impact of nursing science is especially true as we turn our attention to the current fiscal climate on Capitol Hill. Federal dollars for non-defense programs—including research—are at risk of facing devastating cuts. We know that our member deans, faculty, and students rely on these dollars, and we are concerned how reduced funding might interrupt the progress of studies and their translation to the public. The Nursing Science Transforms campaign serves as a platform for the nursing research community to lend its voice in the fight to protect federal support.

As part of this effort, AACN advocates participated in a Thunderclap social media campaign on April 25, which involved sending a message via Twitter and Facebook promoting the importance of nursing research. This message, which read “#NursingScience transforms healthcare and patients’ lives! Please protect federal funding for research!” was shared across our collective networks of advocates, reaching 47,647 individuals

We invite you to continue the conversation with your interprofessional colleagues, students, and legislators on the domestic and global impact that nursing science has on health and health care. Visit AACN’s Nursing Science Transforms campaign web page for additional resources, profiles of nursing scientists, and video clips. Stay tuned for additional resources and materials highlighting nursing science and research careers in the coming weeks.


Related Articles