I Got the Money! Key Strategies to Secure Grant Funding for Research and Evidence-Based Practice

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Rebecca Clark, PhD, MSN, BSN
Kimberly Ferren Carter, PhD
Nursing Administration, Carilion Clinic, Roanoke, VA, USA

With today’s tight healthcare budgets, nurses often struggle to secure the resources needed to support research studies and evidence-based practice projects to improve outcomes. Nurses must compete with organizational priorities and find innovative ways to fund their projects. While grants can provide resources for these projects, they can be challenging to identify and secure. The mere mention of the word “grant” can instill angst for nurses, and few nurses have the experience and expertise required for writing the successful grant application. Competition for funding is intense, and only outstanding applications are funded. Therefore, the valuable time that a nurse spends writing grants to support new knowledge and innovation must be used efficiently and effectively. There is limited professional literature to provide guidance for nurses who wish to expand their skillset as grant seekers.

Grant funders view grants as investments in improving the future and furthering their mission and reject projects that do not address these priorities. The successful grant application presents a novel proposal that is feasible, well written and advances the goals of the funding organization. It also requires that grant seekers find appropriate funding sources, ones that closely match the goals of the project, the expertise and experience of the primary investigator and the infrastructure of the organization to support the implementation of the project. While these points may sound obvious, it takes practice, team-work, time and energy to craft the successful application. It is process that has vast rewards, both professionally and personally, when successful and it is a process that can be learned!

In this presentation, two nurses who have secured over $2 million grants for clinical and academic projects will explore approaches that have led to successful funding from federal, national and local sources. They will share strategies for finding funding sources, with attention to types available, including public, private, and non-traditional grant opportunities. In addition, they will discuss best practices for a systematic approach to writing a successful grant application. These practices include: crafting a feasible workplan, developing an attention-garnering introduction, writing the outstanding narrative and crystalizing the details of the work, processes, outcomes and parameters. In addition to developing writing skills through the writing process, certain professional endeavors contribute to composing that successful application. The presenters will discuss the importance of collaborating with others on writing; reviewing grant application for professional organizations and developing skill in writing for publication and presentations.

Examples of grant applications will be discussed with insights into components that contributed to successful (or not-so-successful) funding.

The importance of obtaining grant funding is clear. While the grant application process is time-consuming, difficult and daunting, it is possible for nurses to secure funding by learning how to identify appropriate funding sources and write compelling applications! These funds can be used to provide the financial support for developing the nursing knowledge and practice to advance health across the globe. Indeed, becoming the recipient of grant funding can help launch future endeavors to impact practice.