2018–20 National Clinician Scholar
Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, Ohio State University
Jin Jun, Ph.D., R.N., a nurse researcher who studies the well-being of the healthcare workforce, completed the National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP) at IHPI in June 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was pushing healthcare provider stress and burnout to unprecedented levels.
Before the pandemic, Jun, now an assistant professor at the Ohio State University College of Nursing in the Center for Healthy Aging, Self-Management and Complex Care, had already developed a considerable body of research documenting burnout and occupational stress among nurses. COVID-19’s intensification of these long-running trends provided Jun with renewed motivation to continue and expand her work on a problem with obviously enormous public health relevance, and one that she knew required policy-level interventions. Plus, the NCSP program had equipped her with essential tools to leverage health services research and generate evidence to answer key policy questions around the persistent issues facing this workforce.
“The research I do on clinician well-being, nursing workforce issues, and injustice and the labor market – all these topics have to be viewed through a policy lens, where we are asking the research question of ‘so what?’ with an eye on what factors might be modifiable from a policy perspective, and not just at the clinical or population health level,” Jun says.
During the NCSP, Jun investigated the potential to reduce burnout and its sometimes “contagious” nature among nursing teams by using storytelling – i.e. sharing experiences and reinforcing connections among colleagues. This work built naturally on her previous research on the impact of “microculture” (i.e. units, groups, and departments within a larger organization) on nurse behavior, and particularly their use of evidence-based practices.
Jun says the NCSP’s in-depth examination of social determinants of health, neighborhood effects, and health disparities helped her better define the theme of occupational justice that now drives her work. Jun is currently focusing on low-wage healthcare workers, who generally struggle to access the resources and opportunities for health and well-being that are offered by the very sector that employs them.
“We are asking the research question of ‘so what?’ with an eye on what factors might be modifiable from a policy perspective.”
– Jin Jun
“I think a lot of health services researchers are attracted to our field because we are also idealists, and we want to make a positive change within society and around the world,” she says. “Coming from nursing, the NCSP was like a little piece of heaven for people like me, because of its very unique combination of health services research and methodologic rigor, all with a policy focus.”
Jun credits her NCSP experience with “helping me to become really aligned with who I am, who I need to be, and who I want to be.” She notes that the NCSP’s emphasis on considering the broader impact on healthcare and society at large when framing research questions “really expanded my worldview, and I know that makes me a stronger researcher.”