Nurse-scientists occupy a unique and fundamental position in the health research enterprise. Nursing science provides the evidence base to support the practice of the largest healthcare profession, as well as to improve wellness and quality of life for all individuals. For example, Dr. Margaret Grey developed approaches to teaching adolescents the skills needed to successfully manage their diabetes; Dr. Loretta Sweet Jemmott pioneered ways to help young minority men and women reduce their risk for acquiring HIV; and Drs. Jon Levine and Christine Miaskowski increased medicine’s understanding of why men and women respond differently to pain medication. Given the rise in the incidence of long-term chronic illness, it is critically important that improving the quality of life for those with chronic illness remains a primary focus of nursing research. Nurse-scientists provide evidence-based strategies for maintaining wellness and preventing illness from occurring in the first place. The patient-centered, interdisciplinary field of nursing science plays a vital role in achieving this vision:
Research training and career development are critical elements to cultivate the next generation of nurse-scientists. To ensure continued advancements in science and improvements in health, it is essential that the scientific workforce of the future be innovative, multidisciplinary, and diverse. Nurse-scientist training programs are designed to achieve this vision. Improving research capacity in nursing science has been recognized as an essential component for improving health care and health systems. In 2011, for example, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, highlighting the importance of nursing science and capacity building for improving the health of the Nation.