The Resources You’ll Need for Researching Nurses

In my last post, I detailed a number of useful resources for conducting prospect research on doctors. Today, I’m going to focus on another important group of prospects in the medical field: nurses.

Why nurses? Four reasons:

  1. Nurses are great connections to grateful patients, their families, and medical organizations due to their passion for the field. They can often open doors to other, potential donors.
  2. Nurses are often uncertain about their retirement plans and, as such, are potential planned gift prospects.
  3. According to a 2014 survey, nearly 40% of doctors are likely to have a spouse who is a physician or a healthcare professional. Since you’ll often run into doctor/nurse households, it’s important to understand how to properly evaluate the potential capacity of a nurse. This will help you provide your development officer with a complete picture of the household and its interests.
  4. From my personal experience as a researcher, I’ve found that nurses are more likely to donate to funds related to bettering society as a whole and training future nurses. They have a tendency to care passionately about healthcare and underserved populations, and are great prospects for these areas.


Types of Nurses

The first thing that you need to know when researching nurses is that there are three main levels of nurses. The first level consists of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). LPNs usually have 18 months to two years of training and must pass state or national boards to renew their licenses. They are supervised by a Registered Nurse (RN) or physician.

The second level is the RN. At this level, a nurse will have passed a state exam, gotten a diploma, associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, and logged many hours of clinical experience. These nurses often supervise LPNs and other health-care professionals. In addition, RNs provide the most direct care to patients and have the most interaction with the patients’ families. As a result, they are likely to be interested in providing support to programs focused on the holistic health of patients and their families.

The third level of nurse is the Advanced Practice Nurse (APN). These nurses are a step below doctors and include certified nurse midwives (CNMs), nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). They often have advanced degrees in nursing and additional qualifications. At this level, the nurses may carry out research and may teach at nursing schools.

How to Research Nurses


Most of the research conducted on nurses is similar to that conducted on doctors. You will want to search for nursing licenses, first within the national database (i.e., Nursys) and then the state license for the state in which the nurse is practicing.


It is often more difficult to determine the employment of nurses than it is for doctors. Due to this issue, you’ll need to rely more on social media, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, than on traditional practice websites.

Two useful databases in which to locate employment information are Trustoria, which is similar to LinkedIn in that it is self-reported, and the Nursing Network, which is also self-reported, but is used to connect nurses with their colleagues for support.

There are also a few search engines that I use when looking for a nurse’s employment. If a nurse is located in Ontario, you can use the College of Nurses of Ontario’s database. If I’m looking for a nurse practitioner, I will use the American Association of Nurse Practitioners search tool. (You have to search by zip code and then sort through the results to see if your nurse practitioner is listed, but as long as you have an idea of where the nurse practitioner lives, then this tool is useful.)

If the nurse is located in a large city, he or she may have a listing on The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society also has a nice search engine to locate nurses. If you are researching a midwife, you can use the American College of Nurse-Midwives database.

Specialty Associations

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to locate specialty association memberships for nurses—you are less likely to find this information in a biography online. However, such organizations do exist and, if you are able to locate information indicating that your prospect belongs to such an organization, you should search out that organization’s membership directory for more information.,, and have wonderful lists of nursing organizations. If you know in what area of medicine your nurse is active, you could proactively search the membership lists of one or more of these organizations in order to try to locate your nurse.

Other Resources

As with doctors, you will want to search your prospect’s alma mater website(s), closest nursing schools, and local newspapers. (Refer to this post for details on combing through these sources for important insights; although the post focuses on doctors, the concepts still apply.) These searches can provide you with a wealth of information on the nurse’s employment and family life.

I hope this post is helpful to your research on nurses. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Missed Emily’s guide to developing prospect profiles on doctors? Check it out here.

Emily Davis began as a research associate at the Indiana University Foundation and was promoted to development analyst in 2011. In addition to assisting her science- and health-related clients with research, she has completed research for the IU and IU Foundation presidents as well as on international prospects. She received her undergraduate degrees from Ball State University and her master’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington. In her free time, she enjoys completing freelance editing and formatting work when not watching Thomas the Train with her toddler.

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