NINR engaged the scientific community to develop its current Strategic Plan to focus and define NINR’s scientific agenda. It was launched in 2011.
The Strategic Plan describes five main areas of focus:
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Advancing the Quality of Life: Symptom Management and Self-Management
- End-of-Life and Palliative Care
- Developing Nurse Scientists
Building on the Strategic Plan, past scientific accomplishments, and current research, four key themes have evolved. These themes include:
- Symptom Science: Promoting Personalized Health Strategies
- Wellness: Promoting Health and Preventing Illness
- Self-Management: Improving Quality of Life for Individuals with Chronic Illness
- End-of-Life and Palliative Care: The Science of Compassion
The themes are the next logical steps to further specify the general topics identified in the Strategic Plan and will guide the future growth of NINR-supported science.
Symptom Science: Promoting Personalized Health Strategies
Today, more people are living with chronic illnesses, as well as the adverse symptoms that result from them. New advances in genomics and other fields have allowed nurse scientists to better understand the symptoms of chronic illness, such as pain, fatigue, and disordered sleep. NINR supports research to develop improved, personalized strategies to treat and prevent the adverse symptoms of illness across diverse populations and settings. Read more
Wellness: Promoting Health and Preventing Illness
The most effective way to overcome the effects of illness is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. In focusing on wellness, nursing science seeks to promote health and prevent illness across health conditions, settings, the lifespan, and in minority and underserved populations. NINR supports research to understand the physical, behavioral, and environmental causes of illness, assess behaviors that lead to healthy lifestyle choices, and develop evidence-based interventions to promote wellness. Read more
The science of self-management examines strategies to help individuals with chronic conditions and their caregivers better understand and manage their illness and improve their health behaviors. NINR-supported research helps individuals from diverse backgrounds and their families live with chronic illness by developing effective approaches to self-management that can improve quality of life while reducing the burden for caregivers and the health care system. Read more
End-of-Life and Palliative Care: The Science of Compassion
As the lead NIH Institute for end-of-life research, NINR supports science to assist individuals, families, and health care professionals in managing the symptoms of life limiting conditions and planning for end-of-life decisions. NINR also recognizes that high-quality, evidence-based palliative care is a critical component of maintaining quality of life at any stage of illness, not just at the end of life. Activities in this area address issues such as: relieving symptoms and suffering; and understanding decision-making by patients, caregivers, and providers.
Cross Cutting Areas
NINR views the following foundational concepts as vital to the advancement of nursing science and health care, and as focus areas that cut across the Institute’s research portfolio. In implementing research programs that focus on the four main themes described above, NINR also emphasizes these two areas in each of its research programs and activities.
Promoting Innovation: Technology to Improve Health
Innovative technologies play a critical role in advancing health care, and nursing science can provide the foundation for developing novel, culturally sensitive interventions that deliver personalized care and real-time health information to patients, families, clinicians, and communities. For example, NINR has supported research to: develop a novel technology employing infrared sensors to monitor older adults’ daily activities and alert providers of changes in health status; design a tool using advanced sensing and pattern recognition to assess pain severity in children; and develop a wireless medication compliance system to monitor dosing and remind patients to take their medication, while relaying this information in real time to the patient’s healthcare providers.
21st Century Nurse Scientists: Innovative Strategies for Research Careers
The development of a strong cadre of nurse scientists has been a primary goal of NINR since its establishment. To continue to support advancements in science and improvements in health, it is essential that the scientific workforce of the future be innovative, multidisciplinary, and diverse. NINR supports a wide range of activities, in both its extramural and intramural programs, to ensure excellence in the next generation of nurse scientists.