Marlene Kramer received her BSN from St. Louis University in 1953, her MSN from Case-Western Reserve University (1958), and her PhD in education and sociology from Stanford University (1966). She has held a variety of positions in Nursing Service and has been a member of the faculty of 3 Schools of Nursing, University of California in San Francisco, University of Connecticut, and University of Nevada, Reno where she was the first occupant of the Orvis Chair in Nursing Research.
In the late 1960's while Dean of the Undergraduate program at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Kramer commenced a Research Program to identify the process, facilitators and deterrents to effective transition of students to the work world. This study led to the publication in 1974 of her seminal work Reality Shock: Why Nurses Leave Nursing. From 1974-1979, Marlene focused on avenues to alleviate Reality Shock in acute care hospitals, and conducted a series of studies to test Bicultural and Conflict Resolution training with new graduate nurses and their head nurses to help ease the school to work transition.
While Dean at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Kramer was motivated by the Magnet Hospital publication to begin a program of research on institutions of excellence in nursing care. Since 1984, and continuing today, her program of research has identified those factors present in hospitals that create a healthy and productive work environment. The information generated by this series of research studies is helpful to organizations in assessing the state of their work environment and then to plan approaches to increase the quality of that environment.
Dr. Kramer continues to make significant contributions to the Science of Nursing Research through conduct of integrated Research Programs, a series of inductive and deductive studies designed to identify the dimensions and characteristics of the problem, formulate theoretically based interventions and then reevaluate effectiveness of interventions. In the current 'best management practice' studies, a new dimension has been added. Members of the leadership team of all hospitals in the sample participate as active team members in the research process, thereby setting the stage for rapid and hospital-focused implementation and reevaluation of study outcomes either directly or through the work of doctoral students mentored by 'best practice' researchers.
She has served as a Federal grant reviewer for the Division of Nursing and also as a site visitor and reviewer for the NLN, as well as being a consultant for the Pan American Health Organization.
Dr. Kramer has been honored as an outstanding alumnus by both St. Louis University and Case Western Reserve. The AACN recognized her with a Pioneering Spirit Award. She has numerous publications, both articles and books. She has spoken at many conferences and seminars both nationally and internationally.