Martha Curley, RN, PhD, ‘Challenges the Givens’ Through Nursing Research

Aug 3 2018

Martha Curley, RN, PhD, ‘Challenges the Givens’ Through Nursing Research

Editor’s Note: In our Meet Our Investigators series on Cornerstone, get to know our remarkable researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute: a colorful collection of profiles that bring out the personality and passion of faculty members who have recently joined the Research Institute.

Name: Martha A.Q. Curley, RN, PhD

Title: Ruth M. Colket Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nursing

Joined the Research Institute: January 2018. I have been on the faculty at University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing for past 11 years, with a joint appointment in Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hometown: Springfield, Mass.

Favorite Book or Movie: My recent favorite is “All the Light We Cannot See”

What are some of the Research Institute’s unique characteristics that brought you here?

Openness and enthusiasm for infusing nursing throughout CHOP’s new research strategic plan are two big reasons.

Tell us what is innovative about your research and its significance to advancing pediatric healthcare.

My research, funded by NHLBI, NICHD, and NINR has concentrated on nurse-implemented interventions in pediatric critical care. My studies have focused on relationship-based care when partnering with parents-of-critically-ill children, supported parent presence during invasive procedures and resuscitation, and have informed the practice of caring for critically-ill pediatric patients with acute respiratory failure. I have also led the development and dissemination of core metrics in the field of pediatrics; for example, the State Behavioral Scale (SBS), the Withdrawal Assessment Tool (WAT-1), individualized numeric rating scale (INRS) and the Braden QD scale.

What is the best piece of advice someone has shared with you, professional or personal?

I’ve been fortunate to be trained by the best conceptual thinkers in Nursing, at both Boston College (Sister Callista Roy, PhD, RN, and Marjory Gordon, PhD) and Yale (Donna Diers, Judith Krauss, MSN, RN). As a student, I remember being inspired by their work and its impact on the field. Each person was associated with a huge paradigm shift in nursing practice, and I remember being intrigued — not so much in what they did, but how they did it — how they designed their change and the circumstances surrounding the change. Their answers often included some version of “challenge the givens” and “begin with the end in mind”.

Where you do your best thinking and why?

I do my best thinking in the morning on the keyboard with a cup of coffee. My Italian father, who was a general contractor, would often say in the morning, “I worked so hard last night that I woke up tired.” He would dwell on problems at night and then run out the door in the morning anxious to see if his solution would work. I’m kind of like him in that regard. I love puzzle-solving off the keyboard and then can't wait to “have at it” in the morning … a secondary benefit is avoiding the rush hour commute on the Schuylkill!