Nursing Research

The School of Nursing at Azusa Pacific University conducts world-class research and collaboration to help people more effectively use information to discover, learn, innovate, and better inform the profession. Faculty and students share their results through published works, conference presentations, symposia, and other events. The nursing research website offers information on research methodology, consultants, grants, and ways to develop the most informative and effective product to contribute to the field.

Institute of Health Research

The School of Nursing supports APU’s academic vision through its Institute of Health Research, which is creating an environment to support and increase faculty and student engagement in scientific inquiry that results in new knowledge, refines or expands existing knowledge, and is transferable into practice (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2017). Faculty engaged in academic nursing demonstrate a commitment to the scholarship of scientific inquiry and discovery that generates new knowledge for the discipline, connects practice with education, and leads scholarly pursuits that improve health and health care (AACN, 2016a). Scientific inquiry and discovery includes:

  • Primary empirical research
  • Analysis of large data sets
  • Theory development and testing
  • Methodological studies
  • Implementation science
  • Health services research
  • Philosophical inquiry
  • Analysis

The Institute of Health Research is advancing two initiatives to build, coordinate, and promote nursing and interdisciplinary research: the development of research centers, and the development of academic research partnerships.

Research Centers Development Initiative

The Research Centers Development Initiative is creating environments of scholarly inquiry that are responsive to U.S. Government Healthy People Initiatives and the National Institute of Nursing Research agendas for health promotion and disease prevention, quality of life, health disparities, and end-of-life and palliative care. Four centers will stimulate and facilitate nursing and collaborative interdisciplinary research funding proposal submissions on health-related problems of common interest. Institute of Health Research Centers are framed by the life course health development integrated framework (Halfon and Hochstein, 2002) and by Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) Ecology of Human Development theory.

Institute of Health Research Centers

  • Biobehavioral and Precision Health Promotion Research Center
  • Community and Population Health Equity Research Center
  • Parent, Child, and Family Health Research Center
  • Spirituality and Health Research Center

The Spirituality and Health Research Center

The Spirituality and Health Research Center was the first center to be developed—center status was awarded in 2017. Its purpose is to advance the work of God in a manner that is consistent with and integrates the Code of Ethics for Nurses (American Nurses Association, 2015), the Azusa Pacific University Cornerstones (Christ, Scholarship, Community, and Service), and APU’s academic vision, the latter of which includes the following principles:

  • Ensure that a cogent understanding of faith integration and spiritual formation is integrated into all academic programs.
  • Establish clear definitions and expectations regarding fulfillment of our mission as a Christian university.

Center investigators conduct research to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice that will prevent disease and disability, manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, and enhance end-of-life and palliative care. Alleviation of physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and social suffering, as well as promotion of mind, body, and spiritual wholeness of individuals, families, and communities, are equally central to Spirituality and Health Research Center activities.

Center Goals

  1. Be the driving force for excellence, innovation, and scholarship in spirituality and health nursing education, research, and practice.
  2. Be a leading partner in advancing improvements in health, health care, and higher education related to spirituality and health nursing education, research, and practice.
  3. Develop a repository of knowledge to advance spirituality and health nursing education, research, and practice through information curation and synthesis.

Biobehavioral Research Laboratory Development Initiative

The Institute of Health Research’s Biobehavioral Lab is being constructed for classification as a Biosafety Level 2 facility to support nursing and interdisciplinary research on the interactions among behavioral, biological, psychosocial, and environmental determinants of health under investigation for Azusa Pacific University-related research.

Biobehavioral Lab Goals

  • Conduct testing using salivary diagnostics to measure biomarkers commonly used in biobehavioral nursing research.
  • Consult with faculty who are extending their research programs to incorporate biological measures.
  • Provide education and training opportunities in biobehavioral research for graduate nursing students.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary research teams that study the intersection of behavioral, biological, psychosocial, and environmental health issues.
  • Develop grant proposals to attain funding to support biobehavioral research efforts.
  • Increase biobehavioral research activity within the School of Nursing and across disciplines.

Academic Research Partnership Initiative

The Institute of Health Research and Adventist White Memorial Hospital are partnering to advance knowledge-driven professional nursing practice. The partnership is undergirded by alignment of values, mission, goals, and strategic plans based upon:

  • Doing God’s work by expanding and enhancing research, scholarship, and clinical practice in the service of compassionate care to all persons, particularly those who are marginalized and rendered invisible.
  • Demonstrating national and international leadership in faith-informed innovation, excellence, and evidence-based practice that includes clinical service, quality initiatives, education, and research.
  • Commitment to collaboratively identifying and prioritizing research and scholarship topics, and to engaging in all aspects of research and related emerging education and clinical considerations.

Research/Project Name: The Adventist Health Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Scholar: An Opportunity to Align Your Profession, Talent, and Purpose with your Daily Work. Ministry: Adventist Health White Memorial Medical Center.

Funding Source: Adventist Health Corporate Innovations Council Grants Network.

Project Partners: Adventist Health White Memorial Hospital Department of Nursing and Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing Institute of Health Research.

Scope of Work: The project is based on the following research question that is formulated using the acronym PICOT that describes the EBP process necessary to define a searchable question:

P=Population/Problem, I=Intervention/Interest Area, C=Comparison/Control Group, O=Outcome, T=Time Factor.

Research Question: Will the adult student (employee, physician, volunteer) who participates in the EBP Scholar Program, compared with the adult student who does NOT participate in the EBP Scholar Program, realize improved work/life/family balance and demonstrate higher levels of “sustainable engagement” within the workplace during the 12-month program pilot and for the next five years as an alumnus of the program?

Partner Contribution: Deliver the existing Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing Manuscript Development Program modified for Adventist Health White Memorial Hospital Evidence-Based Practice Scholar Program participants. School of Nursing faculty partners will provide consultative and instrumental support related to program implementation.

  • By targeting staff with limited journal writing experience, the adapted Manuscript Development Program will strategically offer service and support to increase the capacity of program participants to disseminate findings from individually identified research PICOT questions.
  • A workshop series based upon core competencies is delivered over the course of the program.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2006). Position Statement on Nursing Research. (Approved by AACN Membership: October 26, 1998) (Revisions Approved by the Membership: March 15, 1999, and March 13, 2006).
Retrieved from

AACN (2016). Defining Scholarship for the Discipline of Nursing. Washington, DC.
Retrieved from

AACN (2016a). Advancing Healthcare Transformation: A New Era for Academic Nursing.
Retrieved from

AACN (October 2017). Defining Scholarship for Academic Nursing Position Statement. October 16, 2017.
Retrieved from

American Nurses Association (2015). The Code of Ethics for Nurses.
Retrieved from

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design. President and Fellows of Harvard College. Pp. 330.

Halfon, N. and Hochstein, M. (2002). Life course health development: An integrated framework for developing health, policy, and research. The Milbank Quarterly, 80(3), 433-79.

National Institute of Nursing Research. (nd).
Retrieved from

Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.

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