The rapid expansion of hospital training schools revealed an alarming lack of standards and practices. By the early 1900s some nursing leaders began investigating workplace conditions and the administration of nursing services and education. Over the next 50 years, national nursing organizations sponsored important surveys, studies, and reports that documented the need for change and demonstrated the value of nursing research. Despite a growing commitment to research, however, the emergence of a patient-oriented science of nursing was decades away.
In the 1950s, under Dean Florence M. Gipe, the University of Maryland School of Nursing took its first steps toward becoming a research institution. Today, research conducted by School of Nursing faculty and doctoral students helps combat serious health problems in the community, leads to the development of new products and interventions for patients, influences health care policy, and strengthens the professional status of nursing.
The School of Nursing offered its first graduate program in 1954; by 1963 students had a choice of six specialties. The expansion of graduate education was both a cause and effect of the rise in faculty credentials. Supported by federal funding, school administrators created faculty training programs, fellowships, and research development projects. They also hired several talented nurse educators who were instrumental in fostering a spirit of inquiry, among them Gladys Sellew, Mary Carl, Ann Cain, Mary Neal, and Evelyn Cohelan.