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College of Nursing

Faculty and Staff

Ronda G. Hughes, PhD, MHS, RN, FAAN

Title: Director, Center for Nursing Leadership and Associate Professor
College of Nursing
Phone: 803-777-0119

College of Nursing 
University of South Carolina
1601 Greene Street, Room 405
Columbia, SC 29208-4001 
United States



Dr. Hughes is the Director of the Center for Nursing Leadership, the Director for the Executive Doctorate of Nursing Practice program, and an Associate Professor. Her career has included a rich blend of roles in academe, administration, and research. Prior to coming to UofSC, she was an Associate Professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee (2010 – 2016), after almost two decades of service in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, primarily at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Health Resources and Services Administration. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Dr. Hughes received her PhD in Health Policy and Health Services Research from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health (2001), a Masters in Health Science in Health Policy and Management with a minor in biomedical ethics from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health (1993), and a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Boston University (1988). 


Dr. Hughes has developed and taught graduate students on topics including: statistics, health policy, quality and patient safety, health informatics, research methods, and leadership. Currently, she teaches:

  • NURS 807 – Advanced Leadership, Part II
  • NURS 809 – Advanced Financing

She has mentored masters, DNP, and PhD students, and has chaired and served on numerous dissertations and projects.


Concept Areas:

  • Patient safety and quality improvement
  • Big data research
  • Health care administration
  • Health systems
  • Policy and program evaluation
  • Outcomes research
  • Palliative and end of life care


Dissemination activities have included national and international presentations and authorship on over 100 publications.

Professional Service

Dr. Hughes has served as a scientific reviewer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. She serves as a manuscript review for several peer-reviewed health care journals. She is a member of the American Academy of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, and Sigma Theta Tau International. Currently, she a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Advisory Committee on Nursing Education and Practice and a trustee for the Institute of Safe Medication Practices.

Research Studies (Selected)

READI (Readiness Evaluation And Discharge Interventions: Implementation as a Standard Nursing Practice for Hospital Discharge. Study commissioned through a competitive process by American Nurse Credentialing Center, funding pending completion of contracts and study site recruitment. Co-Investigator. $800,000, 2014 - 2017.

Palliative care in African American communities: focus group study. Greater Milwaukee Foundation. Co-investigator. $23,000, 2012 - 2013.

Patient Safety and Quality: an Evidence-based Handbook for Nurses. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Principal Investigator. $1,200,000, 2005 - 2008.

Effectiveness of Care Delivered to Medicaid Beneficiaries with Chronic Conditions. Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Principal Investigator.  $400,000, 2002 - 2004.

Publications (Selected)

Baernholdt, M., Dunton, N., Hughes, R.G., Stone, P.W., & White, K. (2017). Quality measures – A stakeholder analysis. Journal of Nursing Care Quality. doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000292.

Petersen, C.L., Callahan, M.F., McCarthy, D.O., Hughes, R.G., White-Traut, R., & Bansal, N.K. (2016). An online educational initiative improves pediatric oncology nurses' knowledge, attitudes, and spiritual care competence. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 34(2), 1-10.

Bobay, K.L., Bahr, S.J., Weiss, M.E., Hughes, R.G., & Costa, L. (2015). Models of discharge care in Magnethospitals. Journal of Nursing Administration, 45(10), 485-491.

Weiss, M.E., Bobay, K.L., Bahr, S.J., Costa, L., Hughes, R.G., & Holland, D.E. (2015). A model for hospital discharge preparation: From case management to care transition. Journal of Nursing Administration, 45(12), 606-614.

Thongpriwan, V., Leuck, S.E., Powell, R., Young, S., Schuler, S.G., & Hughes, R.G. (2015). Undergraduate nursing student's attitude toward mental health nursing. Nursing Education Today, 35(8), 948-953.

Hughes, R.G., Bobay, K.L., Jolly, N.A., & Suby, C. (2015). Comparison of nurse staffing based on changes in unit-level workload associated with patient churn. Journal of Nursing Management, 23, 390-400.

Hughes, R.G. & Beane, M. (2014). Health informatics and Data Harmonization. Prospective Paper. Institute of Medicine.

Hughes, R.G. Beene, M.S., & Dykes, P.C. (2014). The significance of data harmonization for credentialing research. Prospective Paper. Institute of Medicine.

Hughes, R.G., Ryan, P.R., & Fridlington, L. (2014). Reliability and construct validity of the Complexity Compression questionnaire. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 22(2), 291-301.

Hickey, J.V., Unruh, L., Newhouse, R., Koithan, M., Lundmark, V., Johantgen, M., Hughes, R.G., & Haller, K. (2014). Credentialing: the need for a national research agenda. Nursing Outlook, 62(2), 119-127.

Hughes, R.G., Bobay, K., Jolly, N., & Suby, C. (2013). Comparison of nurse staffing based on changes in unit-level workload. Journal of Nursing Management, Oct. doi: 10.1111/jonm.12147.

Hughes, R.G. (2013). Improving Patient Safety within the Context of Everyday Chaos and Complexity. Creative Nursing, 19(1), 42-44.

Harris, M., Vanderboom, C., & Hughes, R. Nursing-Sensitive Safety and Quality Outcomes: The Taming of a Wicked Problem? Applied Nursing Research, May; 22(2), 146-151.

Lacey, S. R., Kilgore, M., Yun, H., Hughes, R., Allison, J., & Cox, S. (2008). Secondary Analysis of Merged American Hospital Association (AHA) data and US Census Data: Beginning to Understanding the Supply-Demand Chain in Pediatric Inpatient Units. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 23(3), 161-168.

Lorenz, K.A., Lynn, J., Dy, S.M., Shugarman, L.R., Wilkinson, A., Mularski, R.A., Morton, S.C., Hughes, R.G., Hilton, L.K., Maglione, M., Rhodes, S.L., Rolon, C., Sun, V.C., & Shekelle, P.G. (2008). Evidence for improving palliative care at the end of life: a systematic review. Annals of Internal Medicine, 148(2), 147-59.

Hughes, R.G., & Clancy, C.M. (2008). Research Linking Nurses’ Work Hours to Errors Prompts More State Restrictions. AORN, January; 87(1), 209-211.

Hughes, R.G., & Clancy, C.M. (2007). Improving the quality of nursing care using the medical expenditure panel survey data. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, April-June; 22(2), 93-6.

Lacey, S., & Hughes, R.G. (2007). Is power everything? What can we learn from large data sets. Applied Nursing Research, 20(1), 50-53.

Mularski, R.A., Dy, S.M., Shugarman, L.R., Anne M Wilkinson, A.M., Lynn, J., Shekelle, P.G., Morton, S.C., Sun, V.C.,  Hughes, R.G., Hilton, L.K., Maglione, M., Rhodes, S.L., Rolon, C., & Lorenz, K.A. (2007). A Systematic Review of Measures of End-of-Life Care and Its Outcomes. Health Services Research, 42(5), 1848–1870.

Harrison, M.I., Henriksen, K., & Hughes, R.G. (2007). Improving the health care work environment: implications for research, practice, and policy. Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety, 33(11 Supplement), 81-84.

Harrison, M.I., Kenriksen, K., & Hughes, R.G. (2007). Improving the health care work environment: a sociotechnical systems approach. Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety, 33(11 Supplement), 3-6, 1.

Lorenz, K., Lynn, J., Dy, S., Hughes, R., Mularski, R.A., Shugarman, L.R., & Wilkinson, A.M.  (2006). Cancer care quality measures: symptoms and end-of-life. Evidence Report Technology Assessment, 137, 1-77.

Hughes, R.G., & Edgerton, B.A. (2005). Reducing pediatric medication errors. American Journal of Nursing, 105(5), 36-42.

Hughes, R.G., Bakos, A.D., O’Mara, A., & Kovner, C.T. (2005). Palliative Wound Care at the End-of-Life. Home Health Care Management and Practice, 17(3), 196-202.

Hughes, R.G., & Ortiz, E.O. (2005). Medication Safety: What’s the bottom line? American Journal of Nursing, March Supplement, 105(1), 14-24.

Hughes, R.G., & Stone, P. (2005).  The Perils of Shift work. American Journal of Nursing, 104(9), 60-63.

Kass-Bartelmes B.L., & Hughes R. (2004). Advance care planning: preferences for care at the end of life. Journal of Pain & Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy, 18(1), 87-109.


Hughes, R.G., editor. (2008). Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-based Handbook for Nurses. AHRQ; Rockville, MD. Available at

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