Donna Diers, PhD, RN, FAAN
Donna Diers started her life in Sheridan, Wyoming, and rose to become one of a select group of nurses honored as a "Living Legend" for their influence on nursing and health care. Diers truly had a tremendous impact on nursing practice, education, research, and national and international health policy. Margaret Grey, current dean at Yale School of Nursing, wrote: "Donna Diers has served as the 'voice of nursing' for over 40 years. She has taught us about ourselves, our profession, and our society. Her words forever changed the direction of nursing science and convinced us that primary care is nursing." Diers spent her career at Yale School of Nursing, starting as a lecturer in psychiatric mental health nursing and ultimately serving as the dean for 13 years.
An early advocate of clinical nursing research, Diers wrote the first textbook on this topic in 1979. This textbook, Research in Nursing Practice, strongly grounded nursing research in clinical practice, very much in line with the current focus in health-related research on translation of research into practice. She published in virtually all of the major nursing journals. For eight years she served as editor of Image: Journal of Nursing Scholarship, a key scholarship and research journal in nursing. During her career, Diers received some of the most prestigious awards and honors in nursing, including: Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing; member in the Institute of Medicine - the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences; the Jessie M. Scott Award from the American Nurses Association - which honors nurses who bring together nursing education practice and research; and a "Living Legend" by the American Academy of Nursing - the Academy’s highest honor.
Prior to her death in February of 2013, Diers was the Annie W. Goodrich Professor Emeritus and Lecturer in Nursing at the Yale School of Nursing; and Senior Clinical Coordinator, Decision Support, Yale-New Haven Health System. In addition, she held Adjunct Professor appointments at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, and the University of Sydney. She consulted and wrote articles and books as she tirelessly worked to improve nursing in the United States and beyond. Diers was never satisfied with discovering a new way to help improve patient care until she had shared her new-found knowledge with other caregivers around the world.