We review nursing and health services research on health care organizations over the period 1950 through 2004 to reveal the contribution of nursing to this field. Notwithstanding this rich tradition and the unique perspective of nursing researchers grounded in patient care production processes, the following gaps in nursing research remain: (1) the lack of theoretical frameworks about organizational factors relating to internal work processes; (2) the need for sophisticated methodologies to guide empirical investigations; (3) the difficulty in understanding how organizations adapt models for patient care delivery in response to market forces; (4) the paucity of attention to the impact of new technologies on the organization of patient care work processes. Given nurses’ deep understanding of the inner workings of health care facilities, we hope to see an increasing number of research programs that tackle these deficiencies.
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Stephen S. Mick, PhD, CHE, is Arthur Graham Glasgow Professor and Chair, Department of Health Administration, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.
Barbara A. Mark, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Sarah Frances Russell Distinguished Professor, School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.
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