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Published on July 09, 2019

Cone Health Receives $240,000 Grant from The Duke Endowment
Cone Health will partner with UNCG to fund a program that may change the way nurses work.

Cone Health has received a $240,000 grant from The Duke Endowment to change the way hospitals assign work to nurses. If successful, the program will allow nurses to spend more time with their patients while improving the care they provide. The two-year research project is a partnership between Cone Health and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Nursing. 

Today, nurses are usually assigned a specific number of patients to care for. This new method is based on the amount of care each patient might require. Patients are assigned a score based on their individual needs. This score serves as a guideline to ensure that workloads are evenly distributed.

Across the U.S., nurses are leaving their jobs due to the work environment and workload demands (American Nurses Association, 2011). Improving workload for nurses directly benefits patients. Research conducted by Sajin Shin, Jinn-Hwa Park, and Sung-Heui Bae (Nursing Outlook, 2018, Volume 66, issue 3) found that better nurse staffing in hospitals was linked to improved patient satisfaction.

Pilot data on two Cone Health units using the new workload approach to nurse staffing found nurses spent more time at the bedside with their patients and patient satisfaction improved. It is hoped that this will also lead to improved patient care, reduced nurse burnout and less nurse turnover. “Nurses are passionate about the care they provide to patients. They want to make a difference every day,” says Marjorie Jenkins, RN, PhD, director of nursing research, Cone Health. “We want to reduce their feelings of being overwhelmed.”

This collaborative project between Cone Health and UNC Greensboro researchers Drs. Cynthia Bacon and Thomas McCoy will assist in achieving the mission of both partners and the Duke Endowment, to improve the health of the area.


American Nurses Association (2011). ANA Health and Safety Survey. Retrieved May 24, 2018 from

Shin, S., Park J-H. & Bae, S-H. (2018). Nurse staffing and nurse outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nursing Outlook, 66(3), 273-282.

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