Associate professor and chair of the Division of Health Care Environments Cheryl B. Jones, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been named one of 20 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows for 2013.
UNC Hospitals emphasizes nurses engaging in research to address critical problems in practice, and Dr. Jones is working with its nursing Research Council to develop a research agenda that guides its nursing research efforts. She also mentors teams at the Hospitals that have research ideas or are developing ideas into research proposals.
“The nurses at UNC Hospitals are asking critical questions that have the potential to help us not only determine ways to change nursing practice and save money in health care organizations but, more importantly, to improve the lives of patients and their families,” she says. ”Answering these questions also can improve the nursing work environment, and the health care system at large.”
She says that the award is very meaningful to her for several reasons, one of those being because it comes from practice. “As an academic, the fact that I have this incredible opportunity to make a contribution to service by doing something I enjoy so very much is a tremendous honor. Because this award comes from working with nurses on the front lines — who put themselves out there day in and day out and communicate to the world what nursing is all about — it is truly humbling.”
Dr. Jones adds that working with nurses at UNC Hospitals has been one of the most personally and professionally satisfying experiences of her career because she learns as much from them as they do from her. “Using my academic training and experience I can help nurses learn about research and how to break questions and the process down into manageable pieces. I constantly learn from them about their work, their concerns, and their challenges. Along the way, we have fun and enjoy what we’re doing…and hopefully break down the walls between academia and practice. For me, that’s what it’s all about.”