Office for Nursing Research

The UW School of Nursing has been at the forefront of innovative nursing science that continues to impact individuals and communities around the word. We have consistently ranked among the top nursing schools in the country in research awards and PhD graduates.

Nurse Scientist Program

1964, Dean Mary Tschudin and Dr. Katherine Hoffman obtained a grant to institute a nurse scientist program. At the time, nurses were required to complete their major in another discipline and then apply the research to nursing. Looking for a way to promote research and provide role models for students, Dean Tschudin and Dr. Hoffman asked for help from faculty member Dr. Marjorie Batey, Ph.D. ‘53, a trained social scientist with a background in organizational systems. Dr. Batey initiated the Research Facilitation Project, a systematic study of the mechanisms needed to develop a vigorous and sustainable research culture.

Between 1969 and 1976, research funding for the UW School of Nursing increased from a little more than $26,000 per year to more than $930,000.

Building on Dr. Batey’s legacy, today the UW School of Nursing continues to bring in millions of dollars every year in extramural research funding allowing SoN investigators to conduct innovative and rigorous research that improves the health of all.

Research in the educational experience

In the decades that followed, research became an integral part of the educational process at the school. Technological advances and increasing numbers of nurse scientists on faculty made experiential learning an integral part of both the undergraduate and graduate educational experience.

In 1977, Dean Rheba de Tornyay facilitated the development of the UW’s first Doctor of Philosophy (Phd) in Nursing Science degree. In 1982, Marcia Killien was awarded the first Ph.D. in nursing.

Today, 99 percent of the school’s tenured faculty hold Ph.D. degrees. “Research is what enlivens the teaching,” Batey said. The Office for Nursing Research, which Batey founded in 1970, is still making that possible, helping to attract world-class faculty, research staff, and students to the UW SoN.

Evolution of UW’s Nursing Research

  • Emphasis on introducing faculty to the importance of research
1960s – Early 19702
  • Individual faculty development
  • Faculty research development grant
  • Nurse Scientist training grant
  • UW School of Nursing leaders recognize the significance of research in nursing science and practice
  • Development of the research facilitation office (Now ONR) and a new Director of Research
  • Pursuit of research funding
  • Administrative departments were formed
  • Emphasis on research integration with education (evidence-based practice!)
  • Modeling Parties
  • Technologic advances
  • Faculty collaboration
  • Development of research centers to integrate research, education, and practice
  • Solid faculty collaboration and mentorship
  • Programs of study were developed
2000s – Present
  • de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging endowed to promote the science of healthy aging
  • Center for Innovation in Sleep Self-Management established to continue advancing sleep science

Sleep research at the UW School of Nursing

Dr. Betty Giblin established the UW School of Nursing Sleep Research Laboratory, the first of its kind in the United States, in the late 1970s. Multidisciplinary clinicians from all over the University of Washington campus, collaborated with the UW School of Nursing Sleep Research Laboratory for high-impact research studies. Dr. Giblin’s research, which examined sleep patterns associated with illness and disease, continues to be one of the focus areas of the National Institute of Nursing Research.

In the 1980s, the UW School of Nursing Sleep Research Laboratory expanded its focus to sleep and symptoms in women throughout the lifespan. This research and subsequent studies framed a biobehavioral and ecological perspective that considered sleep, symptoms, and menopausal transition in the context of women’s lives. Over the past four decades, UW School of Nursing researchers have created a large database of sleep studies conducted in both lab and home settings.

In 2009, the sleep lab became home base to the University of Washington School of Nursing Center for Research on Management of Sleep Disturbances, (CRMSD) funded by the National Institutes of Health. The CRMSD’s mission is to promote research that addresses sleep disturbances by developing interventions and tools that increase sleep quality. The Center has produced dozens of scholarly articles and funded more than 10 pilot studies between 2009-2021.

The presence of the UW School of Nursing Sleep Research Laboratory has elevated sleep research at the School and throughout the larger UW and Seattle communities. The sleep lab and lab technicians’ expertise is available to investigators through our Laboratory Services offerings.