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Elena Siegel, Ph.D., R.N. Selected as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar


NEWS RELEASE                                                     Contact: Gretchen Wright or Johanna Diaz
September 1, 2011                                                                     202/371-1999
University of California, Davis’ Siegel Named a
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ‘Nurse Faculty Scholar’
Nurse Researcher Studying Nursing Home Quality Improvement is Selected for Prestigious Program to Advance Careers of Nation’s Most Promising Junior Nurse Faculty
Sacramento, Calif.—Elena O. Siegel, Ph.D., R.N., an assistant professor and founding faculty member at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at the UC Davis Health System, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to examine the organizational and leadership factors that affect whether and which quality improvements measures are adopted, implemented and sustained in nursing homes. Siegel is one of just 12 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 next month.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to have focused time for my research and structured mentorship to support my development as an academic nurse leader ,” Siegel said.
For her research project, Siegel will examine the ways in which nursing home leaders make decisions about which quality improvement initiatives their organizations will adopt and the organizational and leadership factors that contribute to successful implementation and sustainability of those initiatives. The project will involve interviews with executive and administrative decision makers, including: nursing home owners, corporate executives, nursing home administrators, and directors of nursing.  
Several studies have addressed implementation of quality-improvement measures, but few have involved in-depth examination of the role of leadership in the implementation of quality improvement measures or leaders’ readiness to do so. Siegel hopes the study results will facilitate the development of an assessment tool to help leaders ascertain their own readiness and identify possible challenges or barriers to successful implementation of quality improvement measures.
“This is a new school of nursing at UC Davis and the opportunity to be a Nurse Faculty Scholar could not have come at a better time,” Siegel said. “The program’s goals align with my goals for leadership development as well as the school’s core values. I will use the Nurse Faculty Scholars program to create a structured approach to developing my career.”
Siegel’s selection comes as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is embarking on a collaborative campaign to transform the nursing profession to improve health and health care. Based on the recommendations from a groundbreaking Institute of Medicine nursing report released last year—The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, RWJF is spearheading the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action to engage nurses and non-nurses in a nationwide effort to overhaul the nursing profession. The campaign is working to implement solutions to the challenges facing the nursing profession and to build upon nurse-based approaches to improving quality and transforming the way Americans receive health care.
Her mentors are: Heather Young, Ph.D., G.N.P., R.N., F.A.A.N., professor, associate vice chancellor for nursing and dean of the School of Nursing; and Joy Melnikow, M.D., M.P.H., professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the School of Medicine.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program 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 shortage of nurse educators that could undermine the health and health care of all Americans. The Affordable Care Act will vastly increase the number of people who can access health care in the United States. As the number of patients increases, there will be greater demand for skilled nurses and faculty to educate them. Right now, many schools of nursing are turning away qualified applicants because they lack the faculty to teach them.
The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholars program is helping to curb the 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 at 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.
This is the fourth cohort of Nurse Faculty Scholars. Many members of the first three cohorts have been published and recognized for outstanding work since they were accepted into the program.
The Nurse Faculty Scholars 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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