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Was a dentist appointed to lead nursing researchers?

By Julie Cullen, Managing Editor, American Nurse Today

The more I work with nurses, the more sensitive I become to the everyday slights they face. From how they’re depicted in the media (during a recent nostalgic binge of Friends, in every episode that included a nurse, she [always “she”] was presented as buffoonish, cranky, or “sexy”) to how they’re treated by other professions, nurses face a lot of misinformation and misperception about their role in healthcare. Take, for instance, the recent interim appointment by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of a dentist to head up the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR).

The NIH says that they tried to fill the position with a nurse but that they couldn’t find any qualified candidates and are continuing their search.

Whatever the reason behind this appointment, the perception of it to nurses and the public is that just anyone can lead nursing research and that nurses can’t lead themselves. Lawrence Tabak, the dentist who’s serving in this interim position, is a well-respected research dentist but one has to wonder what he knows about nursing and nursing research and how this is affecting NINR morale…and nurse morale in general.

The NIH is encouraging qualified nurse researchers to apply for the NINR director position (which also needs a deputy director because a PhD in biology is currently serving in that interim post). If you’re qualified, throw your hat in the ring. Encourage your qualified colleagues to do the same. Nurses should be leading nursing research.

Source: Business Insider

8 thoughts on “Was a dentist appointed to lead nursing researchers?”

  1. Phyllis Boone MSN RN ANP-BC says:

    I suspect that the NIH did not try very hard to find a qualified Nurse to fill this position. I find it insulting to appoint someone completely outside of Professional Nursing to fill a position that has influence over our practice. In fact I find this questionable appointment completely unethical. I ask the ANA to involve us in correcting this appointment.

  2. The Truth About Nursing / Coalition for Better Understanding of Nursing has a letter-writing campaign on this. Please send your thoughts to the NIH Director here https://truthaboutnursing.salsalabs.org/ninr

  3. Mary says:

    I think the person you need to replace is your HR Director that tried to claim they actually made a concentrated attempt to find someone. Someone at NIH needs to be doing an investigation, especially to see if there are any conflicts of interest between the dentist hired anyone they may have known in a position of authority at the NIH.

  4. Judith says:

    That is a direct slap in the face for all nurses and for our profession. It sends a message to young nurses that we are inadequate and unable to show any leadership without own. How many masters prepared and PhD nurses are out there! would they ask a nurse to govern physicians or Dentists? How would they feel? Totally unacceptable and demeaning.

  5. Michael Addison Van Doren says:

    Interim or not, what a sham (and shame) of an appointment. All concerned nurses should want to find out how and why this occurred and who is responsible for nursing losing out on this. Additionally, I would hope that ANA and really, every professional, national nursing organization would seek answers and a speedy/satisfactory resolution. Or in kind, would the NIDR be content with a nurse at its helm? I think not. And I think it unprofessional and myopic of any dentist to believe he or she should do so for nursing.

  6. Therese says:

    Couldn’t find any qualified candidates among nurses?! You’ve got to be kidding!! And a dentist to represent nurses…not only did you choose outside of the profession, but you chose someone from a profession that doesn’t even work with nurses! What were you thinking? And the deputy director is a PhD in biology, another one outside of the profession, who doesn’t work with nurses….Show some respect for nurses and their profession! I can think of several within the University of Rochester who would be fantastic for this…I find it hard to imagine that you couldn’t find a single nurse anywhere within the USA!

  7. C.DebraStreetman says:

    Perhaps thought should go to appointing a NURSE who is experienced,interested,even if applicant does not have the top degree…Attitude,apititude,willingness and being a Nurse should be the requirement.One can hire research consultants to provide education,but a seasoned nurse ‘s experience is invaluable.SHAME on This agency to appoint a non-nurse…..provide education Incentives,consultant funds,but have. A nurse !!

  8. Cindy says:

    This is an embarrassment and a slap in the face to nurses everywhere.

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