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NINR is pleased to announce the publication of our first history book (click here to read the book online) in commemoration of the Institute's 25 years at NIH.

Dr. James A. Shannon Building (Building 1) - NIH Main Campus

The book explores the origins of NINR, the launching of nursing science at NIH, NINR’s advancement from a Center to an Institute, and how nursing science has progressed in the past quarter century.

The book opens in 1985, shortly after the congressional mandate that established the National Center for Nursing Research (NCNR) at NIH. At this time, fewer than 6 percent of the 4,000 nurses who held doctoral degrees reported their primary function as research due in part to a lack of funding. The underlying cause for the lack of grant support—skepticism that nurses were capable of conducting scientifically rigorous research—represented the profession’s first major obstacle.

Former NINR Director Dr. Ada Sue Hinshaw holding NINR's plaque for Institute status at NIH.

Moving forward from this less than ideal infancy, the book explores the people and events that enabled NCNR to evolve into today’s NINR—a sophisticated and accomplished NIH institute. The NINR of 2010 not only sets the research agenda for nursing scientists across the country, but also administers millions of dollars in grants, oversees a vibrant intramural research program, collaborates across the NIH campus on translational research initiatives, and provides leadership on end-of-life and palliative care science. NINR also devotes more resources to training future scientists, as a percentage of budget, than nearly any other NIH institute.

NINR Director Dr. Patricia A. Grady

“The story of the NINR recounts the development and use of science to form new constructs of nursing practice—from observation to translation, from nursing care to nursing science, from procedure to practice to policy,” notes Patricia A. Grady, PhD, NINR director, in the book’s preface. “Nurse scientists will always be a key wellspring of the information required so that evidence-based practice and policy can prevail and ensure the delivery of high-quality health care.”

Written with the assistance of an array of historians and nurse scientists and based on dozens of oral histories and hundreds of archived documents, NINR: Bringing Science to Life reminds the reader of a different era.

Female researcher in lab

Only a couple of decades ago, health care practice was guided less by scientific discovery than by tradition and trial and error. By the end of the book, the reader learns how the establishment of nursing research at the NIH not only advanced science, but also helped dismantle this and other historical, cultural, and medical hegemonies.


Updated Date: May 4, 2012