Technological and social changes as well as changes in health and demographic developments have modified considerably the role of nursing and made nursing research more and more essential. Nursing research aims at developing knowledge that guides and supports the whole field of nursing practice in order to improve the quality of nursing care and thereby improves the status of the profession. Like nursing itself, nursing research began with Florence Nightingale in her hospital reforms first in Crimea and later in London. Her spirit of enquiry took root in America in the 1950s and with the founding of the journal Nursing Research in 1952 nursing research was starting to grow. In Europe nursing research activity began to burgeon in 1980s, mainly with the improvement of nursing education. Today there is an important scientific knowledge base for nursing practice. Scientific national and international journals, councils, seminars and the internet are the main means of dissemination of nursing research findings. But perhaps the greatest challenge of all is for nursing research to begin to make more impact on nursing practice and policy in order to improve the quality of nursing care. In the words of the ICN Nurses’ Day slogan of 1996, our aspiration must be the achievement of “Better health through nursing research”.