New Jefferson Health program enables clinical, academic nurses to partner on research

Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University College of Nursing launched a collaborative nurse scientist program to support research efforts.

The program supports the collaboration of clinical and academic nurses on studies and aims to advance research and nursing care. It is part of the health system’s broader effort to engage and retain nurses through strategic initiatives. 

“The nurse scientist program serves as a bridge between clinical nurses, who are able to identify opportunities for research, and academic nurses, who have expertise in rigorous study design,” Joanne Robinson, Ph.D., professor and associate dean for research and innovation at the College of Nursing, said in an announcement. 

Together, these interdisciplinary teams have the opportunity to leverage insights gained from the clinic to improve care delivery and help nurses contribute to science, according to Bea Leyden, senior vice president of nursing practice learning and scholarship at Jefferson Health. 

“Clinical nurses really sort of understand what’s happening at the bedside,” Leyden told Fierce Healthcare, “and ask really appropriate questions that can guide research.” 

Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals received the Magnet recognition for nursing excellence. As part of the designation, awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, organizations are judged on how they foster innovation. Research is a key part of that, Leyden explained. 

Aside from the latest program, Jefferson Health also offers an emeritus nurse program that reengages retired nurses to coach newer nurses and helps retain staff. The pilot initiative consists of two different tracks—one for providing support to nurses at the bedside or virtually, and another for support for leadership roles.

The program is co-led by Robinson and Leyden, both of whom also designed it. It currently has studies in its pipeline and has nurse scientists embedded in hospitals and clinical settings across Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson University comprises 10 colleges and four schools serving nearly 9,000 students. Jefferson Health is the largest provider in the Philadelphia area, with 18 hospitals and more than 50 outpatient and urgent care locations in the region. With the start of the new year, it launched a restructuring to streamline its operations that reportedly will include job cuts.