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About the Connell Research Scholars Program

The goal of the Connell Nursing Research Scholars program (CNRS) is to promote the advancement of interdisciplinary patient/family care at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) through nursing research. The nurse researchers invited to participate in this program have dedicated time (up to 16 hours) each week to advance a research agenda consistent with strategic goals of MGH Patient Care Services and their personal research focus. Ultimately, having time devoted to the conduct of research and clinical investigation will enable each scholar the opportunity to actively seek and obtain external funding to develop, implement, evaluate and translate a research agenda that will advance patient care at the MGH and beyond.

Connell Nursing Research Scholars work to build nursing science through the investigation of issues that impact cost effective, safe, efficient, high quality patient/family centric care that influences care redesign and informs health policy. Participation in the CNRS program as an early or mid –level nurse researcher offers each scholar the time and active mentoring needed to generate the knowledge needed to advance interdisciplinary health care for all.


Established and emerging programs of research that focus on the priorities listed below and congruent with organizational strategic goals were funded. The priorities include:

  • Care of the hospitalized elderly.
  • Patient and family experiences and “end-of-life” care.
  • Workforce development, implementation and evaluation; quality improvement.
  • Creative interventions that decrease risk and improve symptom management (e.g. hospital acquired infections and pressure ulcers, reduction in falls and improved pain management) are priority areas of inquiry.
  • Development and testing of measures to evaluate care outcomes.
  • Educational program evaluation.
  • Advancement and evaluation of the Professional Practice Environment, internationally.
  • Generation, testing and evaluation of theoretical models that can be used to guide practice and advance nursing science.


Develop knowledge to advance patient care through research

  • Design a Plan and timeline to address the CNRS appointment.
  • Identify personal learning objectives and strategies and outcomes resulting from the appointment.
  • Participate in regular meetings with program advisor and external mentors.
  • Attend and actively engage in monthly seminars with Program Advisor
  • Attend MGH research programs including Harvard Catalyst meetings and other Partners research programs that focus on methods and process as dictated by a research project(s)
  • Participate in Research Grand Rounds and other activities within MGH and Partners to share research activities with other scholars
  • Seek a Harvard Clinical Appointment

Become proficient in the conduct of research within clinical practice

  • Explore national funding (e.g., RWJ Foundation, NIH; Specialty Organizations and Foundations). Review guidelines with mentor.
  • Submit application(s) for external funding.
  • Prepare a concept paper and review with CNRS program faculty.
  • Prepare and justify budget; meet with Grant Manager.
  • Develop science and design methodology for study; seek expert statistical consultation around methodology and design.
  • Consult with Program Advisor, Munn Research Center Team Members, and External Faculty mentors on a regular basis to advance research plan.
  • Develop a research team.
  • Consult with statistician as needed.
  • Attend CE programs offered on research design and methodology within the Partners system.

Become an active participant in facilitation and translation of research into practice

  • Collaborate with MGH committee members involved in the promotion and dissemination of research (e.g. research/EBP committee; Doctoral Forum; Nursing Research Day).
  • Participate on external review panels (e.g. ENRS Abstract Review Committee; CANS Review, National review panels).
  • Attend the Clinical Practice Research Interest Group (RIG) at ENRS.
  • Present at Grand Rounds/Journal Club, etc.
  • Mentor other staff around the research process and consider potential inclusion in research projects.
  • Work with Interdisciplinary team grant submissions (e.g. Clinical Innovations Awards; Harvard Catalyst).

Participate in Forums at the MGH and beyond to Disseminate Research

  • ENRS – RIG’s (e.g. Clinical Practice and Research); NIH NINR and Specialty Review Groups.
  • Present knowledge gained through scholarly inquiry at national and international meetings.
  • Disseminate research activities to advance new knowledge and advance patient care (e.g. Abstract submissions at nursing and Interdisciplinary meetings, nationally and globally).
  • Attend CANS/other specialty research meetings.
  • Publish work in refereed journals and other journals specific to research interest.
  • Assume leadership roles in local, national and international groups dedicated to advancing knowledge through research.
  • Mentor other staff and emerging researchers.


The Connell Nursing Research Scholars were supported in three cohorts over the past 3 years.
During the fellowship, Connell Nurse Research Scholars (CNRS) engage in research 16 hours per week during the course of one year. During this time, each scholar reviews their research trajectory with the Program Advisor, attend seminars and establishes a timeline for developing a research plan and funding.

During the fellowship, each Scholar:

  • Attends regularly-scheduled mentoring meetings with the Program Advisor
  • Attends a monthly seminar with Program Advisor and other mentors
  • Establishes a research implementation plan with the CNRS team
  • Identifies a faculty mentor
  • Implements a research plan
  • Completes articles for dissemination  
  • Submits application(s) for grant funding


Program Advisor – is a visionary nurse leader and experienced researcher with a demonstrated ability to advance a research agenda, especially within a clinical practice environment. This individual is able to link research to an organizational mission along with national research agendas. The Program Advisor is a seasoned scholar with a wide range of experiences including organizational leadership; a funded scholar (i.e. a principal Investigator/Director for foundation, NIH, HRSA etc. grants); a research mentor for selected projects (including dissertations; research projects; grant reviewer) and a well-published scholar having presented in both national and international forums. The Program Advisor is an advisor and mentor to the CNRSs, assisting scholars with the development of a research plan. The advisor conducts weekly meetings with each scholar along with monthly research seminars; facilitates team development; generates resources for grant preparation; holds meetings with program faculty and advisory board members; monitors the programs implementation and periodically evaluate scholars and program outcomes. Selection of the Program Advisor is made by selected members of the Advisory Committee.

Biostatistician – assists scholars with the research design and methodological analysis throughout the scholar’s involvement in CNRS program. Statistical consultation is available up to eight hours per week. The selection of statistical consultation will be based on the individual’s experience, methodological expertise and scholarship.

External faculty – each CNRS are asked to select an external mentor whose research complements the work of the scholar and who has achieved national recognition for the advancement of specialized knowledge through research. National appointments (e.g., AAN), honors, publication record and funding is used to guide the selection of faculty mentors. A small honorarium is provided for each external faculty mentor. It is hoped that this collaboration will enhance grant applications, increased shared publications and offer other research opportunities as the program progresses. Selection of external faculty mentors is made in consultation with the Program Advisor and CNRS.


Program Advisor: Dorothy Jones, EdD, RN, FAAN, Director Emeritus, the Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research

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