My job

‘Nursing can’t be done alone’

When and why did you develop an interest in research? After completing my master’s thesis at Emory University in Georgia, United States, I realised that I enjoyed the precise and methodological approach of scientists in their pursuit of answering compelling health problems. I started out interested in children’s health and engagement of their families and I have maintained that initial interest in promoting health and preventing disease in children.

Write constantly and build collaborations, advises Linda McCauley, Dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University

Who has been most influential in your career as a nurse and as a researcher?

My mother was a nurse and encouraged my love of healthcare, and supported my interest in providing people with the tools needed to stay healthy or cope with medical issues. A second influence was meeting epidemiologist Barbara Valanis (senior investigator emeritus for the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in the US) through my doctoral programme. She inspired me to balance nursing and environmental science, taught me how to write successful grant applications and the importance of dissemination of knowledge. I am fortunate to have had many mentors in my professional career, but these two were the most influential.

Of your published research, which do you think

...

Write constantly and build collaborations, advises Linda McCauley, Dean of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University

Who has been most influential in your career as a nurse and as a researcher?

My mother was a nurse and encouraged my love of healthcare, and supported my interest in providing people with the tools needed to stay healthy or cope with medical issues. A second influence was meeting epidemiologist Barbara Valanis (senior investigator emeritus for the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in the US) through my doctoral programme. She inspired me to balance nursing and environmental science, taught me how to write successful grant applications and the importance of dissemination of knowledge. I am fortunate to have had many mentors in my professional career, but these two were the most influential.

Of your published research, which do you think has been the most influential and why?

In 2001, my colleagues and I published an article on the Oregon migrant farm-worker community. Scientists were just beginning to recognise how powerful research can be if conducted in full and equitable partnerships with communities.

You have published widely on environmental exposures. What do you think the current research challenges are?

The scarcity of funding. Young scientists need excellent research mentors who have been successfully funded to have the best chance of launching their own programmes of research. Additionally, doubling the number of nurses with doctorates so that we can increase nursing knowledge and accelerate the progress in solving issues in population health and healthcare delivery.

Which of your achievements has given you the most satisfaction?

Effective partnering with communities resulting in better understanding of research and the environmental exposures that affect them every day, and steps they can take to ensure the cleanest water, safest food and a world with as few chemical exposures as possible.

Our recently funded US$5 million (£4 million) grant to create a Children’s Environmental Health Center. Focusing on environmental exposures, the microbiome, and metabolomics, it explores how environmental exposures prior to conception, during prenatal development, and postnatally may affect infant health and development.

What research projects are you currently working on?

I am heading a project focusing on environmental exposures, the microbiome, and the health outcomes of African-American women and their infants at the Children’s Environmental Health and Prevention Center at Emory University.

I am also researching rising global temperatures due to climate change and the effects on vulnerable populations.

What tips would you give someone new to research in nursing?

Write constantly. This will help you successfully obtain grant funding to support your research ideas and enable them to quickly disseminate their findings. Second, build collaborations. Interdisciplinary research is extremely important in developing research programmes. Nursing can’t be done alone.

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?