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San Diego State University’s Gates Named Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’


NEWS RELEASE                                                     Contact: Gretchen Wright or Johanna Diaz
September 23, 2009                                                                   202/371-1999
San Diego State University’s Gates Named
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’
Nursing Workforce Researcher is Selected for Prestigious Program
 to Advance Careers of Nation’s Most Promising Junior Nurse Faculty
San Diego, CA—Michael Gates, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the School of Nursing at San Diego State University, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to conduct research on the supplemental nurse workforce and the link between the nursing workforce and patient outcomes. Gates is one of just 15 nurse educators from around the country to receive the three-year $350,000 “Nurse Faculty Scholar” award this year. It is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing. The grant period begins this month.
“The generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will enable me to study the nursing workforce that is vital to our country’s health,” Gates said.
For his research, Gates will be examining the supplemental nurse workforce and surveying different types of supplemental nurses, including travel nurses, registry nurses, and hospital per diem nurses. Supplemental nurses work shorter temporary assignments in hospitals and other health care facilities, on an as-needed basis. Though a critical component of the nursing workforce, few studies have been conducted to assess the needs of this particular group. Gates will research what motivates supplemental nurses and how their work affects the quality of patient care. He will also examine how health care facilities use supplemental nurses and whether and how facilities economize costs by using supplemental nurses.
“Finding out what health care facilities can do better to improve the supplemental nurse work experience, while improving patient outcomes, would be a tremendous asset to health care workforce planning,” said Gates. “Knowing the intricacies of this workforce will also allow health care facilities to function on the basis of a more efficient economic model.”  
Diane Hatton, DNSc, Professor of Nursing at San Diego State University, and Gangaram Singh, Ph.D., Professor of Management at San Diego State University, will serve as his mentors.
“Gates’ research on the supplemental nurse workforce will provide a key glimpse on a little studied, yet critical component of health care labor force. A better understanding of the relationship between the supplemental nursing workforce, the nursing community overall, and the needs of health care facilities and patients, will undoubtedly pave the way for better, more coordinated patient care,” Hatton said.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s“Nurse Faculty Scholar” award aims to strengthen the academic productivity and overall excellence of nursing schools by developing the next generation of national leaders in academic nursing.
Supporting junior nurse faculty will help curb a severe shortage of nurse educators that threatens to undermine the health and health care of all Americans. Many nursing schools lack the resources needed to hire and support enough faculty to train the next generation of nurses. As a result, nursing schools are turning away thousands of qualified applicants—rejecting the very people who can help reverse a serious looming nurse shortage. As the supply of nurses shrinks and the demand for their services grows, patient care will suffer.
The Foundation’s “Nurse Faculty Scholars” program aims to curb the effects of the nursing shortage by helping more junior faculty succeed in, and commit to, academic careers. The program provides talented junior faculty with salary and research support as well as the chance to participate in institutional and national mentoring activities, leadership training, and networking events with colleagues in nursing and other fields, while continuing to teach and provide institutional, professional and community service in their universities.
The program will also enhance the stature of the scholars’ academic institutions, which will benefit fellow nurse educators seeking professional development opportunities.
To receive the award, scholars must be registered nurses who have completed a research doctorate in nursing or a related discipline and who have held a tenure-eligible faculty position at an accredited nursing school for at least two and no more than five years.
The program is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered through the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. It is directed by Jacquelyn Campbell, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., who is the Anna D. Wolf chair and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.
To learn more about the program, visit
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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, we work with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years we’ve brought experience, commitment and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those we serve. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, we expect to make a difference in your lifetime.