Innovative research is essential to our educational mission to develop leaders for the profession and society. Making discoveries, enhancing systems, and improving health through research, education, and practice requires creative problem solving in every aspect of what we do. We are fortunate that Signe Skott Cooper Hall was designed — and continues to evolve —to inspire teaching, learning, and collaboration. It is an ideal learning lab for nurse leaders; a place to develop new ways to improve health through team science.
Innovation drives the methods and foci of research and scholarly work being conducted in the School, in health systems, and in the communities we serve. Our aims and approaches challenge the status quo. By doing so, we are able to reach understudied and underserved populations. The School’s impact is then furthered through collaboration to disseminate knowledge and translate it into evidence-based practice. This leads to partnerships with others who share our aspiration to improve health outcomes for all.
The School’s ability to achieve such meaningful impact through academic nursing today is made possible by its history and legacy of leadership. Since 1924, nurse educators and scientists in the School of Nursing have prioritized excellence in teaching, learning, research, and mentorship. They—and, in turn, our alumni—have contributed their expertise and vision to leverage developing knowledge and new and changing technology in service to the profession. Signe Skott Cooper spoke to this when she described pushing boundaries as a school. She said, “We were on the cutting edge of changes in nursing and were able to explore many new approaches to helping nurses learn and improve their practice.”
Indeed, the School has responded to changing health needs, complex care systems, and persistent societal challenges for nearly 100 years. Yet, it is possible that the greatest threat we have faced has been the Covid-19 pandemic of the past two years. It is a credit to our faculty, staff, students, and partners in research and clinical care settings that we were able to achieve continuity in our academic and research enterprise.
The difficulties presented by the pandemic could have set us back in mastery, progression, or discovery. Instead, potential disruption was met with determination to create new ways to teach, learn, collaborate, investigate, and remain on course. The School of Nursing community was uncompromising in our standards and commitments. Our response to the pandemic is yet another illustration of adaptability that has characterized the School’s past. This will also be our path to maximizing future impact.
This issue of Forward Nursing features research in the School of Nursing. As you read, you will recognize how research programs and scientific approaches are driven by shifts in society and health care alike. Our faculty, staff, and students apply an equity lens to better understand unmet health needs. Then, they formulate innovative research aims and methods to develop knowledge in the context of changing populations and circumstances. I know you will be inspired at how the School is advancing nursing science to expand our opportunities to improve, protect, and promote health for all.
As we continue our trajectory, we will pursue strategic growth and collaborative partnerships in areas that are critical to our mission. We will look to you for support as we gather momentum and resources to educate and prepare the next generation of innovative nurse scientists, clinicians, and educators. It is an honor to share this work with you.
Linda D. Scott