Marjorie Batey, PhD, RN, FAAN was born in Hamburg Iowa. She received her high school diploma from St. Patrick’s Academy in Sidney, Nebraska; her nursing diploma from Sacred Heart Hospital School of Nursing in Spokane, Washington, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Washington, Seattle; her Master of Science (Psychiatric Nursing) from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and her Doctor of Philosophy (Sociology) from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Dr. Batey has worked in many roles – as a staff nurse in California, and Seattle; a Residence Nurse in the Women’s Residence Halls at the University of Washington, an Instructor in Psychiatric Nursing at the University of Colorado School of Nursing in Denver; as a Research Assistant in the Behavioral Science Institute at the University of Colorado in Boulder; as the Project Director of Nursing Research Programs for the Western Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) in Boulder, before coming to the University of Washington School of Nursing as a Nursing Instructor in 1956… sounds like the Cherry Ames series!
Marjorie V. Batey was one of the key people in the development and growth of nursing research, specifically at the University of Washington School of Nursing, but also for the Western region. She provided conceptual and infrastructure frameworks that continue to influence nursing science throughout the nation and the world. She was one of the founders of the Western Society for Research in Nursing, along with two icons of nursing – Jo Eleanor Elliott and Katherine Hoffman. This society and its research conferences was one of the strategies of a grant from the Federal Division of Nursing to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education in Nursing (WICHEN), a regional consortium of universities in 13 states, to increase the quantity and quality of nursing research projects. These conferences and their related publication, Communicating Nursing Research, continues to this day as part of the Western Institute of Nursing. Dr. Batey edited the first ten volumes of Communicating Nursing Research from its inception in 1968 until she retired in 1993. Her careful editorship set high standards for the reporting of nursing research.
Dr. Batey obtained one of the early federal grants for research development from the Division of Nursing (Department of Health, Education and Welfare), from which the formal infrastructure for the University of Washington research effort developed. She was the first director of the University of Washington School of Nursing Office for Nursing Research, and her publication on this endeavor has been influential as other schools of nursing throughout the nation established offices and centers to facilitate research. She also used her understanding of organizational sociology to frame a national study of national research infrastructure in nursing, publishing that report with the Division in the late 1970’s.
In 1972, Dr. Batey became the first chair of the ANA Council of Nurse Researchers. Her efforts were instrumental in mobilizing national concern for nursing research. Her work included development of a legislative network that led to release of funds for nursing research that had been impounded during the Nixon administration.
Dr. Batey served as a mentor of the early Research in Nursing and Patient Care Committee of the Division of Nursing. In her tenure on this committee she contributed to shaping the science through classic publications such as Conceptualizing Nursing Research. Retained by the Division of Nursing to evaluate the Faculty Research Develop Grants impact on nursing research development, Dr. Batey found that emphasizing the development of individual scholars was ineffective in developing the science of nursing. Instead, she found that the academic environment would flourish only if it became more supportive of faculty research. She emphasized the importance of creating conditions essential for a research-oriented subculture to thrive, the need for a normative shift among faculty of schools of nursing from emphasizing not only education, but also research.
Dr. Batey’s emphasis on conceptual and theoretical frameworks for nursing science are reflected in her seminal papers in the nursing research literature in the formative years of the science. In addition, her careful work with her colleague Dr. Frances Lewis in conceptual analysis of key concepts of professional practice continue to influence research today.
Marjorie Batey has educated thousands of students in research methods, having taught graduate students at the University of Washington since the late 1960’s when she completed her PhD in Sociology.
Marge created an office to support nursing research at the University of Washington. During her tenure, the office grew from supporting a few small efforts within the school to supporting an entire faculty with the ultimate outcome of having the highest number of National Institutes of Health funded grants and the largest dollar amounts of NIH grants awarded to any school of nursing in the country!
Although she is an emeritus professor now, Dr. Batey continues to support the UW School of Nursing with her consultation and emotional support. Dean, Nancy Fugate Woods, in her support letter said, “Without her early influence on the school, it is hard for anyone to imagine the School of Nursing at the University of Washington would have its current level of research activity. More importantly, it would be hard to imagine that we would be contributing to the development of new knowledge for practice.”