Linda Aiken Receives International Honor Society of Nursing's Lifetime Achievement Award
University of Pennsylvania Nursing School Professor and LDI Senior Fellow Linda Aiken received the Nell J. Watts Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Honor Society of Nursing. The award was presented last week at the STTI 44th Biennial Convention in Indianapolis.
STTI is an international nonprofit organization that advocates and supports nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Founded in 1922, it has more than 135,000 active members in over 90 countries and territories. STTI's 520 chapters are located at more than 700 institutions of higher education around the world.
Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, who is the Founding Director of the Nursing School's Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (CHOPR), was cited for her decades of 'exemplary' pioneering research work that has analyzed and documented the impact of nursing care on patients in health systems around the world.
Aiken is credited with creating an evidence base of international importance that details how employing nurses with bachelor's or higher qualifications and maintaining more effective nurse-to-patient ratios improves the nursing work environment and patient care.
She documented that 30-day mortality after common surgical procedures increased by seven percent for each additional patient added to a nurse’s workload, and that for each 10 percent increase in nurses with bachelor’s education or higher, there was a five to seven percent decline in risk-adjusted mortality. Aiken has also demonstrated that organizations that support professional nursing practice by involving nurses in decision-making have better patient outcomes than matched organizations with poor work environments.
Largest world study of its kind
Currently, CHOPR's RN4CAST project, based on her research, is the largest study of its kind on nursing care and patient outcomes in the US, Europe, Asia, South Africa, Australia, and Chile. It has been implemented in 30 countries and funded by many sources, including the National Institutes of Health and the European Commission.
Aiken led the effort to improve clinical work environments for nurses when she was president of the American Academy of Nursing in 1979. This led to the development of the Magnet Recognition Program®, a voluntary accreditation program for nursing that represents a high-quality working environment for nurses that results in better patient outcomes.
She is also an authority on nurse shortages around the world and has received the major research awards in her field of health services and policy research, including the Distinguished Investigator Award from AcademyHealth and the Baxter Graham Prize in Health Services Research from the Association of University Programs in Health Administration.
In 2014, she received the Gustav O. Lienhard Award from the National Academy of Medicine for her research, which has impacted practice and policy in the US and more than 30 countries.