Mary K. Anthony, PhD, RN, is a professor and Associate Dean for Research at the Kent State University College of Nursing. In addition, she serves as Director of Nursing Research for University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. Dr. Anthony discusses her role as a nurse scientist and the path that led her to it.
Reflecting on my early and formative experiences, a common and underlying thread emerged describing my journey in becoming a nurse scientist. As a teenage hospital volunteer, nursing assistant, undergraduate student, and novice nurse, images of caring for and connecting with patients and families were imprinted on my identity and sparked a curiosity that went into overdrive. In hindsight, the pathway towards a maturing curiosity began as a sophomore nursing student when my clinical instructor modeled rich intellectual dialogue in her soft Kentucky demeanor and supported my asking “why?”
Across many intersecting career roles, my enthusiasm for supporting research stems from my deep interest in nursing science and how studies currently underway may lead to future innovations in patient care. As a nurse scientist, I persevere in asking “why?” or “how come?” and am particularly interested in understanding how bedside nurses demonstrate their real impact on patient health outcomes. Over the years, I have conducted numerous studies linking nursing practice with outcomes, a process which fuels my passion for demonstrating the unique value of nurses on care.
Again, reflecting on my early experiences, I especially liked a classic Motown song by the Temptations titled, “The Way You Do the Things You Do.” One of the repeated lyrics states, Well you could’ve been anything that you wanted to; And I can tell, The way you do the things you do. In that spirit, I relish searching for novel ways to think about how to solve problems, analyze information, innovate and communicate effectively with others to affect positive change. I continue to be inspired to do the things I do by encouraging and tapping into the unique capacity of current and future nurses to nurture their intellectual curiosity to make a significant impact on the science of nursing and improved patient care.