Rebecca Clark, PhD, MSN, RN, CNM, WHNP-BC
As the Nurse Scientist at Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, I am responsible for developing and implementing a strategic vision for nursing research, innovation, and evidence-based practice at the hospital. I am interested in developing both hospital-wide research that is interdisciplinary and nurse-driven, as well as supporting nurses in developing their own clinically-informed research questions or innovations to improve patient care and outcomes. In my own research, I look to improve birth outcomes in the United States by looking at hospital variation. I am especially interested in hospitals that have excellent birth outcomes – and hospitals where Black women have excellent birth outcomes – and am looking to identify characteristics of these hospitals that might be replicated to improve care and outcomes in other hospitals.
“We develop cultures of inquiry in hospitals, supporting frontline nurses’ research, innovation, and evidence-based practice that advances patient care and improves patient outcomes and satisfaction. We also do research to transform inpatient maternity care and outcomes, addressing racism and its impact on both of these.”
- PhD, John Hopkins University School of Nursing, 2018
- MSN, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, 2010
- BSN, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, 2007
- BA, University of Pennsylvania, 2005
Teaching the next generation of nurses is an integral part of working to transform inpatient care – maternity or otherwise. As such, I have taken opportunities to teach from the beginning of my career and have taught in many different capacities. I am thrilled to be teaching the graduate-level Research Methods course as the critical appraisal of research and its considered application to practice is an important skills for nurses with real implications for patient care and outcomes.
My vision for my research is that it would transform inpatient maternity care in the United States and lead to better, equitable birth outcomes. Currently, my research examines hospital variation in birth outcomes in order to discover ways of improving birth outcomes and increasing equity. Nurses provide the majority of inpatient maternity care in the U.S., so I am interested in how nursing factors – such as the work environment and staffing – contribute to hospital variation in birth outcomes. At this moment, I am looking at hospitals where Black women have better or equitable birth outcomes compared to White women and asking, what sets these hospitals apart? Is there something that distinguishes these hospitals that we can replicate elsewhere?
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
I collaborate with – and am working to build – interdisciplinary research teams in my own area of research and in my role as Nurse Scientist.
Selected Career Highlights
- Contributing Editor, Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health
- Member, UPenn IRB 6
- Board Member, American College of Nurse Midwives PA Affiliate
- Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar Alumna
- Jewish Healthcare Foundation Salk Health Activist Fellow