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Aiken Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Nursing Honor Society

The Nell J. Watts Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Award is given to a Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Honor Society of Nursing member who has demonstrated exemplary achievements in nursing throughout his or her lifetime.

Linda Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, the Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing received the award during the recent 44th Biennial STTI Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

About Dr. Aiken

Dr. Aiken’s pioneering research has documented the impact of nursing care on patient outcomes globally.  Her research has created an evidence base showing the importance of nurses caring for fewer patients each, having most nurses with bachelor’s or higher qualifications, and improving nurse work environments. Aiken documented that 30-day mortality after common surgical procedures increased by seven percent for each additional patient added to a nurse’s workload, and that for each 10 percent increase in nurses with bachelor’s education or higher, there was a five to seven percent decline in risk-adjusted mortality.  She has also demonstrated that organizations that support professional nursing practice by involving nurses in decision-making have better patient outcomes than matched organizations with poor work environments.

Aiken is director and founder of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at Penn’s School of Nursing. Its RN4CAST, one of the center’s projects and based on her research, is the largest study of its kind on nursing care and patient outcomes in the US, Europe, Asia, South Africa, Australia, and Chile. It has been implemented in 30 countries and funded by many sources, including the National Institutes of Health and the European Commission. 

Aiken led the effort to improve clinical work environments for nurses when she was president of the American Academy of Nursing in 1979. This led to the development of the Magnet Recognition Program®, a voluntary accreditation program for nursing that represents a high-quality working environment for nurses that results in better patient outcomes. She is an authority on nurse shortages around the world. She has received the major research awards in her field of health services and policy research, including the Distinguished Investigator Award from AcademyHealth and the Baxter Graham Prize in Health Services Research from the Association of University Programs in Health Administration. In 2014, she received the Gustav O. Lienhard Award from the National Academy of Medicine for her research, which has impacted practice and policy in the US and more than 30 countries.