Nurses file petition after dentist named head of National Institute for Nursing Research

A dentist was named interim director of the National Institute of Nursing Research, a choice some nurses say devalues the profession, according to Business Insider.

On Oct. 1, Lawrence Tabak, DDS, PhD, will take over as NINR's interim director, a spot currently held by Ann Cashion, RN. Some nurses have said the federal research organization should be run by a nurse. The decision "sends a message nurses are not college-educated science professionals," Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH, executive director of The Truth About Nursing, told Business Insider. 

The Truth About Nursing, a nurse advocacy group, created a petition demanding the National Institutes of Health appoint a nurse to lead the NINR. At the time of publication, the petition had about 2,100 signatures. 

"NIH has every intention of filling the director position of the National Institute of Nursing Research with a highly qualified leader in nursing research," a NIH representative told Business Insider. "Earlier this year, NIH conducted a nationwide search that unfortunately failed to identify a suitable person to fill this important role."

The appointment dismisses qualified nurse researchers, according to Doris Carroll, BSN, RN-BC, vice president of the Illinois Nurses Association. "We need to have one of our own head up that organization," she told Business Insider

Editor's note: This article was updated Sept. 17 at 10:40 a.m.

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