Donna S. Havens, PhD, RN, FAAN earned her PhD in Nursing from the University of Maryland. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania to conduct research on the organization of nursing and outcomes.
Currently she is interim dean and professor in the school of nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she works with doctoral students studying healthcare systems and outcomes. Havens’ career includes a rich blend of roles in nursing practice, academe, administration, and research. Her contributions to the profession are derived from a sustained pattern of research and leadership aimed at shaping environments for quality nursing practice and quality patient care.
Dr. Havens is the recipient of numerous awards including: The American Organization of Nurse Executives Nurse Researcher award, the American College of Healthcare Executives Edgar C. Hayhow Article of the Year Award, Fellowship in the American Academy of Nursing, the Villanova University Alumni Distinguished Contributions in Nursing Research Medallion, The Julia Hardy Scholar Award, the American Nurses Foundation, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Theta Tau International. For more than 20 years, she has studied, published, consulted, and presented nationally and internationally about professional nursing practice environments and patient and nurse outcomes. She describes the purpose of her work as “Designing systems to promote desired outcomes.” As part of this research program, Dr. Havens developed the Decisional Involvement Scale (DIS), a 21-item measure that can be used as a tool to assess levels of actual and desired staff nurse decisional involvement and to assess change over time. The instrument is being used in more than 100 hospitals across the U.S., the RWJF Transforming Care at the Bedside program, and internationally (Canada, Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Germany).
Dr. Havens work has been influenced by the literature on positive organizational scholarship and capacity development, which serves as the framework for her current two five-year U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-funded initiatives to translate what has been learned from research about the nursing work environment and outcomes into evidence-based leadership and management to improve the quality of nursing practice and patient care in hospitals — “Building Capacity for Better Work and Better Care” and “Spiraling Upward for Nurse Retention and Quality Care.” Both projects have disseminated and translated what is known about staff nurse decisional involvement/shared governance into practice – “how you do it”.