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Commentary on the NINR Shift in Research Funding Priorities

As one of 27 institutes of the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) is responsible for supporting research that improves health and saves lives. Over the past year, it engaged the nursing community as it developed its new strategic plan. The outcome may result in potential shift in research funding priorities while advancing priorities, methods and approaches needed to solve current and pressing health issues.

In a commentary published in the journal Nursing Outlook about the NINR strategic plan, two leading nurse researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) provide insight into the future of nursing research. The commentary, “Reflections on the Future of Nursing,” is available online.

Nurse researchers who have led research in areas such as violence, firearm safety, evidence-based policy and practice reforms, and implementation and evaluation of models of care are hopeful that this new framework will accelerate efforts to address pressing health and societal issues.

“We do understand the angst that comes with shifts in priorities,” says Antonia Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at Penn Nursing, co-author of the commentary. “We have made these shifts before and can make them again. But it is important to note that researchers are well-positioned to compete across a wide variety of federal, state, and private funding sources because of previous NINR investments.”

The authors acknowledge that changes and shifts are never easy, but they are necessary. Their commentary delivers a message of confident optimism that similar to priority-setting discussions throughout the history of NINR, nurse scientists will rise to the challenge.

“We recognize the importance of continued discussions about how existing programs of research and inquiry can and should be positioned to address pressing societal issues and how nursing science should be positioned to be part of the solution,” says Therese S. Richmond, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research & Innovation, co-author of the commentary. “As we consider the evolution of science, discovery and its impact, coming together as a discipline to best meet the needs of society is important.”