Nursing Education Research Saves Lives: The Pat Griffin Scholar


Cynthia 2015 for webAs many of you know, one of the central missions of the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing is, and always has been, the support of the development of nursing education knowledge through scholarship.  This is a tradition that the Association is working hard to foster and to encourage amongst current nursing faculty.  From workshops on the development of personal scholarship, to the Journal of Quality Advancement in Nursing Education, to accreditation standards that encourage universities and colleges to recognize and embrace the scholarly and scholarship work of faculty, CASN encourages all nurses to engage in the development of nursing education knowledge.

One of the ways that CASN undertakes this important activity is through the support of the Pat Griffin Fund of CASN, which was eestablished in 2007 and named for Dr. Pat Griffin, who passed away while she held the position of Executive Director with the Association.  Pat was a staunch advocate for the development of new knowledge in the area of nursing education; when she passed away, she was working towards the goal of establishing a research chair in nursing education in Canada.

Our community has changed considerably since Pat passed away – in the face of budget crunches and shifts in priorities across academia, the hope of a fully funded research chair is even more distant now than ever before.  For that reason, the support the Pat Griffin Fund offers is now more important than ever, as it is one of the last remaining funding sources for research on nursing education. For the last five years, the Fund has been used to support a project of an established scholar who works in the field of nursing education; the position of the Pat Griffin Scholar is awarded annually, and is given to a scholar with a strong background in mentorship, publication, and contributions to the nursing education community.

Past Scholars have used the funds provided to them through the position to develop a guide for preceptors (Dr. Florence Myrick, 2011), to explore the role in mentorship in the development of the next generation of nursing leaders (Dr. Mina Singh, 2012), to study how nursing students develop critical thinking skills through research (Dr. Joanne Profetto-McGrath, 2013), and to explore the roles that new technologies can play in nursing education and patient care (Dr. Bernie Garrett, 2014).  The body of work that the Pat Griffin Fund of CASN has supported in the past few years is impressive and, without a doubt, the nursing education research it has contributed to will save lives as our students move into patient care.

I look forward to the work of future Pat Griffin Scholars, but this is a situation where our community needs to come together to help support itself.  Please take some time to visit CASN’s website to learn about our past Scholars, to make a donation to the Fund to help future nursing education researchers, and to learn how to nominate a colleague for this prestigious Award in the coming years.  I ask that each of you help CASN in supporting this important and worthy cause, and that we work together to help continue nursing’s proud tradition of nursing education research.

We would love to hear from you! send us your comments and thoughts to us on Twitter (@CASN43) and Facebook with the hashtag #PGScholars

Cynthia Baker, RN, PhD.
Executive Director, CASN