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Ruth A Anderson
Tel: (919) 668-4599
Office: School of Nursing
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Ruth A Anderson, PhD, MSN, MA, RN, FAAN

Professor Emerita

Co-Director, ADAPT Center for Cognitive/Affective Symptom Science

  • Brief Bio

    Dr. Anderson is Virginia Stone Professor of Nursing and a Senior Fellow in the Duke University Center for Aging and Human Development. She is also a Research Development Coordinator in the Office of Research Affairs in the School of Nursing. She earned a BSN from Stockton State College in New Jersey, a Master of Science in Gerontological Nursing and Master of Arts in Social Gerontology from the University of Pennsylvania, and the PhD in nursing with a business minor from The University of Texas at Austin. She has extensive experience teaching graduate courses in managing complex healthcare systems, chronic illness, and outcomes in health care.

    Dr. Anderson's scholarship is dedicated to improving management of nursing homes, an area of rapidly growing need. Her research has been interdisciplinary from its inception, and she has collaborated with scholars at Duke and across the country in schools of nursing, business, economics, engineering and medicine. She pioneered the application of complexity theory and management science in nursing in analysis of the institutional environment of the nursing home. Her studies that show the relationships between patient outcomes and organizational structure, interpersonal relationships of staff and families, patterns of staff communication, and employee turnover have given researchers new tools for implementing evidence-based changes in the care delivery practices in long term care facilities.

    Academic Program Affiliations

    PhD in Nursing Program
    Doctor of Nursing Practice Program


    PhDThe University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing
    MAUniversity of Pennsylvania, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
    MSNUniversity of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
    BSNStockton State College (NJ)

    Research Interests

    My research program is concerned with understanding and improving nursing management practices and their impact on outcomes, with a particular interest in resident outcomes in nursing homes. I use complexity science, organizational and nursing theory to bring together the constructs of communication and decision processes, relationship and interaction, organizational structures, context, resource allocation and health care outcomes. In my previously NIH/NINR funded study, Outcomes of Nursing Management Practice in Nursing Homes, I worked with a multidisciplinary team to explore relationship patterns and management practices that enable nursing homes to attain high quality resident outcomes in a series of eight comparative case studies, identifying management practices that are distributed through all levels of workers and appear to build capacity for high quality outcomes. From these findings, we developed a new intervention for improving staff interactions and information exchange in long term care settings. In a competing continuation NINR-funded R01, my team and I are now testing this intervention in 16 community nursing homes for its impact on reducing patient falls; our team is also funded by the VA (Colón-Emeric, PI) to test the intervention in four Community Living Centers. I have expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research methods.