Scholarly Practice Program Guidelines


  • To develop faculty in areas of sustained scholarship that result in recognition of VUSN as a center of clinical nursing excellence at national and international levels.
  • To allow VUSN faculty an avenue to pursue scholarly practice that benefits themselves professionally while furthering the achievement of the VU strategic plan.
  • To develop scholarly practice role models for other faculty, students and other health care providers.
  • To conduct meaningful, effective and sustained clinical nursing projects that improve health.

Overall Program Evaluation Criteria and Evaluation Processing

  • Aim 1:   clinical awards, publications, presentations double over a five year period; funding achieves an annual increase of 5% per year.
  • Aim 2: non-tenured faculty satisfaction and retention remain stable; achievement of the five year VU, VUMC and VUSN strategic plans in areas related to practice and scholarship.
  • Aim 3:   recruitment of non-tenured faculty and students in MSN and DNP programs from a highly competitive pool as measured by reputation and skill. In addition, ratings of the VUSN mentoring environment by students and other health care providers indicate above average performance.
  • Aim 4:   Individual scholarly programs’ documentation of impact (defined in terms quality and safety improvement, volume of patients served as well as adoption by other institutions (if appropriate) and sustainability at VU (if appropriate).

The evaluation process for the program will be the responsibility of the Center for Research Development and Scholarship (CRDS).  A process report will be compiled annually with an outcomes report issued no less often than every five years.

Program Description

VUSN views the program as a major investment in building scholarly clinical excellence.  As described below, the faculty member may request support for (a) a series of clinically focused disseminations (papers, webinars, etc.) that will improve care by increasing knowledge and skill, (b) a project that develops innovative sustained clinical services or (c) some combination of these approaches.  The support may include not only investment time for the faculty member but also project and dissemination support.  Examples of support are included in the application section below.

Program and Faculty Selection Criteria

  • Eligibility
    The Scholarly Practice Investment Program is open to any non-tenure VUSN faculty member whose position is funded by the School of Nursing who outlines a plan that will contribute to building and/or sustaining scholarship in an area of clinical excellence consistent with the strategic plan.
  • Processing Selection criteria
    The following policies will govern the selection process:
     — Applications are solicited based on resource availability and identified strategic need.
     — The application must be approved by the Senior Associate Dean responsible for the clinical faculty member(s).
     — An individual may submit more than one application; however, unless there are unusual circumstances, only one project per individual will be eligible for selection.
     — The Dean and Senior Associate Deans will make the selection(s) based on:
    • Fit with the VUSN and VU strategic plan priorities
    • Clarity and feasibility of planned activities/project
    • Resource availability
    • Individual’s and/or team’s experience with clinical area as well as preliminary scholarship
    • Mentorship identification and availability
    • Ability/potential of the applicant to work with and develop others
    • Potential for faculty’s sustained contributions. The applicant (or if a team effort, the project leader) must make a commitment to remain at VUSN for at least 12 months upon completion of the project.

Application Process:

  • Assistance in preparing the application:
    After discussing the general idea with one’s Senior Associate Dean and receiving his/her approval, as early as possible, the applicant must contact Dr. Ruth Kleinpell of CRDS who will work with the faculty member to assist with the application in terms of content, budget, timelines, etc. Dr. Kleinpell will forward the final application to CRDS Manager, Sharon Stinson, who will submit the application to the Dean and Sr. Associate Deans.
  • The application: The application is to include:
     — Statement of aims of project
     — Statement of how achievement of aims will advance the clinical excellence of VU, VUSN, and the reputation of the organization.
     — Description including a timetable of the planned activities and/or project. The request may be for no more than two years. The timetable must include deliverables, e.g. when a paper will be submitted, when patients will begin to receive the new service or when measurements of success will be made. If the request is for sustained scholarship without a project, a semester based personal development and dissemination plan should be provided.
     — Budget including salary and non-salary requests. The program recognizes that faculty investment time, project personnel (administrative assistants, statistician), equipment and other funds might be needed. Applicants are encouraged to consider resource needs comprehensively when preparing the budget.
     — CV(s) of the faculty member(s) with narrative that highlights any relevant clinical experience.
     — Identification of and letters of support from potential mentors as well as key clinical personnel whose cooperation for a clinical project is essential
     — References regarding ability to work with and develop others that may not be apparent in the cv(s).
     — Statement that the applicant agrees to the 12 month commitment to remain at VUSN post-completion.
     — Letter of support from the relevant VUSN Senior Associate Dean.
  • Interim and final project reports:
    At the end of the first year of support, a progress report addressing the extent to which the aims stated in the application should be submitted to the Director of CRDS. If publications have resulted, these should be attached. CRDS personnel will assist in making an interim budget report and, as needed, in developing the report. Any special accomplishments or difficulties should be highlighted. The Dean and Senior Associate Deans will review the report and indicate approval/disapproval of continued support.
    Upon completion of the period of support, a final report using the same format should be submitted. Faculty who have received support are eligible to apply for new or continuation projects.
    If at any time the faculty member encounters difficulty in executing the plan, they should contact their Senior Associate Dean or designee who will help by providing advice regarding how the problems might be addressed. The faculty should also make use of the mentor(s) specified in the application.
    Failure to pursue the work outlined in the accepted work plan may result in withdrawal of support. Execution of the plan will be included in annual evaluation considerations.

Scholarly Practice Investment Program Grants

Faculty Grant
Linda Beuscher Reducing re-hospitalization of Medicare recipients
Diana Dowdy

Pain Management for IUD Placement

Karen Hande, Carrie Plummer, Eydie Cloyd

Mindfulness-Centered Stress Reduction

Jennifer Hensley

Sleep Disorder with specific interest in Restless Leg Syndrome

Jennifer Hicks

Exploring perinatal/neonatal loss support systems and evidence based interventions

Sharon Holley

Midwifery professional practice evaluation

Sharon Jones

Whole Person Wellness project

Natasha McClure Development of asthma education and prevention program at the Napier Elementary School community
Ginny Moore

Promote effective patient communication in vulnerable adult women

Bonnie Pilon

A Study of the History and Culture of Selected Nurse Managed Health Center in the U.S.

K. Melissa Smith

Implementation of an academic-clinical partnership:  Heart failure transitional care

Linda Stewart

Interprofessional Obstetrics Simulation: Collaborative Project of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) and Vanderbilt Divinity School (VDS)

Jennifer Wilbeck

Bringing attention to and facilitating revisions to national scopes, standards and competencies for Emergency Nurse Practitioner practice

Courtney Young-Pitts

Application of primary care guidelines in a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) clinical setting

Carol Ziegler Role and cultural healing practices of Nandi traditional healers in Western Kenya