Posted on Feb 8, 2013

USF College of Nursing 40th Anniversary: Research on the Move

USF College of Nursing 40th Anniversary: Research on the Move

The USF College of Nursing is ranked 1st in Florida, and 24th nationally in funding from the National Institutes of Health, for both public and private schools of nursing! The success of research the College can be seen as a microcosm of the evolution of nursing research nationally. Modern nursing research, with its emphasis on transforming nursing science into better care for patients through a process of evidence-based scientific inquiry, has grown nationally since the mid-20th century and parallels in great part the evolution of master’s and then doctoral nursing education. The story of the advancement of modern nursing research is rich with the struggles of amazing nurse faculty who built the university-based educational infrastructure, advanced the roles of the nurse, and brought nursing research into national prominence on par with other healthcare professionals. The USF College of Nursing is proud to be a part of this epic story.


The USF College of Nursing opened its doors 1973, to bachelor degree students. By 1980, USF Nursing admitted its first master’s students, and had laid the foundations of research with the appointment of Ona Z. Riggin, PhD, ARNP as the first Assistant Dean for Graduate Evaluation and Research. Through innovation, collaboration and determination, the USF Nursing faculty began transforming healthcare and transforming lives through research. Early grants like a 1984 study funded by BARD Inc. on “The Incidence of Urinary Tract Infections and Intermittent Catheterization in Rehabilitation Patients” by Dr. Ona Riggin and alumna Patricia Quigley (BS’75, MS’82) a nurse at the James A. Haley VA Hospital, laid the foundation for the many USF nursing faculty and student researchers who came after.

The 90’s were a decade of expansion in nursing research both at USF and across the nation. Research continued to flourish at the College and in 1990, Linda Moody, PhD, RN, FAAN, was appointed as the first Director of Research devoted solely to the development of research at the College. President Bill Clinton signed the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 into law, creating the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In 1997, Mary Evans, PhD, RN, FAAN, was appointed Director of Research and the college accepted our first doctoral (PhD) students who would be prepared as nurse scientists, researchers and faculty. Dr. Evans became the first Associate Dean of Research and Doctoral Study, formalizing the close tie between nursing doctoral education and research at USF Nursing. In 1999, Susan McMillan, PhD, ARNP, FAAN, was awarded a $1.25 million study “A Caregiver Intervention to Improve Hospice Outcomes” funded for by the National Cancer Institute/National Institute for Nursing Research. This was the first of many NIH funded research grants at the USF College of Nursing.

Since the turn of the millennium, the USF College of Nursing has seen total external funding, including research grow to over $5 million annually. Several major factors contribute to USF Nursing’s research growth. In 2007, Kevin Kip, PhD, FAHA, was appointed as Executive Director Research Center which led to an expansion of the Research Center to support the conduct of timely, clinically-relevant, multi-disciplinary research that significantly advances the science of health.

In 2009, USF joined a few other elite nursing institutionswith comprehensive biobehavioral laboratory research facilities. The lab, under the direction of Maureen E. Groer, RN, PhD, FAAN, Gordon Keller Professor is a stateof- the-art, sophisticated new facility that enables the College to launch and support biological data analysis for multiple faculty and student projects, using biological markers to develop deeper understandings of health and disease, as well as the effects of nursing interventions on patients. In 2010, Cindy Munro, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAAN, was appointed as Associate Dean for Research and Innovation to lead the college in creating the research that improves lives in Tampa Bay, and across the nation.

This story was originally published in the January issue of the Nursing on the Move Magazine. To read the article there click here.