Newsmakers: Marjorie “Marge” Funk ’73

Marjorie The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses has awarded Marjorie “Marge” Funk ’73 the 2011 AACN Distinguished Research Lectureship. The award, given annually since 1982, recognizes nurses who have consistently conducted research that has had an impact on the field of nursing. Funk, a nurse with a clinical background in cardiac critical care, has been on the faculty at Yale University School of Nursing since 1984, where she teaches and conducts research. She also has a Ph.D. in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale University. Her research focuses on the wise use of technology in the care of critically ill patients with heart disease. She has examined the appropriate and safe use of technology, its equitable distribution, and the human-to-machine interface. The use of a particular type of technology—electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring—has been a thread throughout her research career. Her emphasis has been on the clinical application of monitoring—how nurses use it and how patients might benefit. In considering how far technology has come over the years, she points out that “technology Marjorie permeates every dimension of health care, especially in critical care units. Bedside technology is integral to the assessment and monitoring of patients, and to the provision of treatment. It also helps with access to vital information and can enhance communication. While it offers extraordinary benefits to patients and clinicians, technology may also create problems.” Although Funk majored in religion at Wheaton, it was a summer job that led her to her true calling. “Perhaps because religion was not central for my family, I became interested in studying different religions at Wheaton. I was fascinated by how people worship, the nature of their faith, and the psychological needs that religion fulfills,” she said. “Eventually, I faced the unfortunate fact that, as an agnostic soon to obtain a degree in religion, I was not very marketable! I had worked in a nursing home during summers while at Wheaton and started to consider that I might want to be a nurse. I entered the Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing, a two-year program for college graduates. Upon obtaining my B.S.N., I accepted my first nursing position at Yale-New Haven Hospital.”