Recognizing Excellence Message From the President Research in Nursing & Health, 2014, 37, 265–266 Accepted 18 June 2014 DOI: 10.1002/nur.21612 Published online 2 July 2014 in Wiley Online Library (

Southern Nursing Research Society (SNRS) is a strong and vibrant organization, dedicated to advancing nursing research. The strength of SNRS is derived from the strength of our members and their excellence in research. Our members excel at conducting research, in disseminating findings, and in mentoring the nurse scientists of the future. We recognize member excellence through our awards program and celebrate the accomplishments of award recipients at the SNRS annual conference. Awards bestow benefits on the individuals who are honored and reflect well on the individuals' institutions. But awards have impact beyond the individual recipient. SNRS awards play a central role in our mission, directly contributing to SNRS goals of “facilitating the career development of nurses and nursing students as researchers” and “promoting the image of nursing as a scientific discipline” (Southern Nursing Research Society, 2014). Beyond SNRS, awards send a message to the public about excellence in nursing research and the contributions of nurse researchers to health. Many of our awards provide an opportunity to celebrate a body of contributions, connecting multiple individual works by an individual into a coherent picture of the whole research trajectory. Other awards celebrate a single signature achievement. For example, the newly established RINAH Best Manuscript Award was awarded for the first time this year. Annual Student Poster Awards also are presented at the SNRS Annual Conference. Awards are a statement of peer recognition. Such recognition is important to individuals and can contribute to advancement of a scientist's career. In academia, awards serve as tangible markers of achievement and scientific reputation, and along with publications and funding can influence promotion and tenure decisions. In a classic study of highly prestigious physics awards, Cole and Cole (1967) found that peers chose award recipients based on substance of their work, and that judgments about substance were not easily reduced to a count of quantifiable data such as number of publications. Rather, peers valued the

significance of the work and its impact on moving the field forward. These results revealed an important message: peer recognition of excellence in a field is a holistic appraisal of the whole body of an individual's work. Awards move scientific disciplines forward by highlighting important topics, approaches, problems, and areas of inquiry. They call attention to examples of the best science in our discipline. Awards can spark interest among others, including new investigators and students, and can spur new collaborations. Receiving an award enhances the recipient's reputation as expert and provides a unique springboard for advancement of scientific ideas. In addition to enhancing scientific discourse within the discipline, awards may open opportunities for honorees to contribute to public policy discussions and to influence public opinion. Awards not only recognize past achievement but also can be a powerful boost to creativity and spur further accomplishments. Cole and Cole wrote, “When a scientist's work is used by his colleagues he is encouraged to continue doing research and that when a scientist's work is ignored, his productivity will tail off” (1967, p. 389). Recognition of excellence at all career stages is important. SNRS strives to showcase and encourage accomplished senior scientists, midcareer scientists, and rising scientific talent; all are critical to the success of nursing research. Senior and mid-career awards provide role models for others, and especially for young scientists. Each distinguished researcher presents a lecture at the SNRS conference that illustrates their successful path and places their outstanding achievements in the context of a welldeveloped research career; these lectures provide context for the development of science and assist younger investigators to see that success is attainable. New investigator and student awards are of special importance because they provide encouragement at a critical early career stage. Acknowledgement of early achievements enhances productivity and predicts future success (McGovern, Kramarik, & Wilkins, 2013).


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Awards provide substantial benefits, but they also carry responsibilities. Those bestowing awards have a responsibility to choose wisely; SNRS takes this seriously. Members of the Awards Committee are carefully vetted and highly committed to their work. Leadership of the Awards Committee is the primary responsibility of one of the SNRS Board of Directors (Dr. Robin Bartlett). The full Board of Directors is directly responsible for approving the recommendations of the Awards Committee. Recipients have responsibilities as well. For every award, recipients are expected to use the prestige and power accompanying the award for the good of the profession (including benefitting others), the good of science, and advancement of patients' health. We are proud of the SNRS members who have received awards- please join us in congratulating your outstanding colleagues!

Research in Nursing & Health

Cindy L. Munro President, SNRS University of South Florida E-mail: [email protected]

References Cole, S., & Cole, J. R. (1967). Scientific output and recognition: A study in the operation of the reward system in science. American Sociological Review, 32, 377–390. Retrieved from http://www. McGovern, V., Kramarik, J., & Wilkins, G. (2013). Career benchmarks from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund’s Early Faculty Career Development Awards. Academic Medicine, 88, 1732–1739. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3182a83172 Southern Nursing Research Society. (2014).

Recognizing excellence.

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