Ann Hurley is retiring this month, but she plans to remain active in research.
When Amanda Sevigny, BS, RN, of the MICU, had to complete a research practicum as part of her master’s coursework at Boston College, it was natural that she work with Ann Hurley, DNSc, RN, FAAN, executive director of the Center for Excellence in Nursing Practice. Hurley is an accomplished researcher who is dedicated to helping nurses develop their clinical inquiry and research skills.
“Ann exemplifies what you can do as a nurse,” said Sevigny, who was thrilled to fulfill the school requirement by working on patient safety research Hurley was conducting at BWH. “She’s always taking on new challenges, and her energy and enthusiasm for nursing and research are contagious.”
Hurley will retire from her full-time position at the end of September, marking the end of this phase of her distinguished career notable for her many contributions to the discipline of nursing. Hurley’s retirement signifies her transition to nurse scientist emeritus, which will allow her to continue with her program of research and serve as a mentor to others. Her retirement also parallels another important transition. The Center for Excellence in Nursing Practice will be integrated with the new Center for Nursing Excellence, led by Trish Gibbons, DNSc RN, who joined BWH in May as executive director and associate chief nurse. The new Center for Nursing Excellence will merge education, research, program innovation and program development to support practice.
Hurley’s foundational work in research and scholarship will be built upon as the new center will bring a strong focus on evidence-based practice, teaching innovation and staff development. In partnership with nursing leadership, center staff will serve as catalysts for innovative programs to assure that nurses can meet the needs of patients and families and that they are supported in their development as professionals.
“Integrating what we have done in the Center for Excellence in Nursing Practice with the new Center for Nursing Excellence will take research to the next level and promote evidence-based care,” Hurley said.
Hurley made significant strides in developing the research program of Nursing, including the implementation of the Mary Fay Enrichment and Lily Kravitz awards, which provide funding for nurses to develop and conduct nursing research.
Recognized as a mentor for many staff within BWH and across the country, Hurley coordinated a scholarship program for neuroscience nurses, and helped many nurse researchers secure funding for their own programs of research. Diane Lancaster, PhD, RN, who is now Nursing’s director of Quality, Measurement and Improvement, previously was a researcher at the center. During that time, Lancaster was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, one of the nation’s largest private supporters of breast cancer research.
“Ann will do what needs to be done to support your project,” Lancaster said. “She puts people in a position to succeed.”
One way Hurley did that was to work with Lancaster and Carolyn Hayes, PhD, RN, to apply for and receive funding from the Hahnemann Hospital Trust to organize Getting Research and Nurses Together (GRANT), a series of workshops the center ran for BWH nurses to formulate research projects, gain IRB approval and get the projects implemented. The workshops provided an overview of the research process and reviewed individual components of the process, such as literature review. “GRANT gave nurses support through each phase of their projects,” Lancaster said.
Hurley’s own research includes care of Alzheimer’s patients, end-of-life care, and diabetes management. At BWH, her research focused on patient safety, an important part of the hospital’s ongoing work. Most recently, she worked with a multidisciplinary team to develop a scale to assess nurses’ satisfaction with the medication administration process. The research, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, will be published this fall in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship.
Hurley will continue at BWH completing her own research. “We are delighted that Ann will continue her research as nurse scientist emeritus and that we will continue to benefit from her expertise,” said Mairead Hickey, PhD, RN, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of Patient Care Services.
Hurley added, “BWH is a wonderful hospital at which to have concluded my nursing career. I feel honored and privileged to have been given such great opportunities here.”