Can someone educate me about this?

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    OK. I'm a travel nurse. I am planning on getting settled into a staff position. Once I am comfortable, I will be returning to school. I've always insisted I would, at the very least, get my BSN. MSN is optional.

    But, if I get my MSN, I might go into nursing research. But, to be honest, I really dont know what it is about or how it works.

    What exactly are you "researching"?

    Is it something done in an office or do you go out to sites like different hospitals and such?

    What is the end goal of research? In other words........if you do a great job, what is the outcome, how does it improve things for the nursing field?

    I have to admit, I'm very bedside with my education up to now, so obviously, I am cluelesss about the whole research dept.
  2. 3 Comments so far...

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    As someone who studies nursing career paths and career planning, I am VERY curious. Why do you think you might go into research if you know so little about it? How did you come to the decision that it might be something you would be interested in doing as a full time job if you don't know what it is?

    I hear such questions and comments from students and young nurses all the time. They get their heart set on a certain job or career path, but then indicate that they have no knowledge about what it actually involves. That seems backwards to me. It seems to me that someone would first explore the different options and find out about them before deciding that one or the other seemed attractive. If you could give me any insight into how that decision-making process happens to make you think you might like research when you know so little about it, I'd certainly appreciate it.

    Anyway ... to get to your question. The purpose of research is to develop knowledge about something. That knowledge can be used to improve practice. Sometimes, that link between a given research project and the improvement of patient care is short, direct, and obvious -- for example, when you are studying whether or not a new drug is effective or not. However at other times, the link between the research and the practice improvement is not so quick and direct -- for example, when the research project is looking to identify a particular chemical in the bloodstream that might be used by some other researcher to develop a treatment that might be available for use in another 5-10 years.

    Often, research nurses work as project assistants or project coordinators for a physician (or geneticist, or biochemist, etc.) on a projec that will develop knowledge in the field of the Primary Investigator (the physician, geneticist, pharmacologist, etc.) -- NOT in the nursing field. The knowledge they develop is valuable, but it is not nursing knowledge.

    Sometimes, nurses do their own research -- usually nurses with graduate degrees who work academic settings, but ocassionally, nurses who work in regular hospitals. Those nurses do research to develop knowledge about nursing processes and the treatment of nursing problems. They ocassionally hire other nurses to work as coordinators of those projects or as assistants, but that is less common because few nurses have the funding to support the hiring of employees to help them do their research. Most nursing researchers do their own projects themselves or with just the help of graduate student assistants or other relatively inexpensive support -- though of course, there are some exceptions to that.

    I hope my answers help you a little. We have some professional research coordinators on allnurses. Hopefully, some will come along soon and provide you with more information about their field. My background is that I worked for 5 years as a graduate assistant in a nursing research center and for 1 year as a faculty associate in another nursing research center. I now work for a hospital and work on small projects of my own.
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    llg said:

    As someone who studies nursing career paths and career planning, I am VERY curious. Why do you think you might go into research if you know so little about it? How did you come to the decision that it might be something you would be interested in doing as a full time job if you don't know what it is?

    I hear such questions and comments from students and young nurses all the time. They get their heart set on a certain job or career path, but then indicate that they have no knowledge about what it actually involves. That seems backwards to me. It seems to me that someone would first explore the different options and find out about them before deciding that one or the other seemed attractive. If you could give me any insight into how that decision-making process happens to make you think you might like research when you know so little about it, I'd certainly appreciate it.


    eh, I worded the question wrong then if it came off as I have my heart set on research. What I mean by "If I get my MSN, I might go into research" is less.......I've decided research is it.........more.......the door is open to it.

    The main reason I have the door open to it is that, from when I was much younger, I have an associates in chem. technology. A chem. tech. is someone that just runs tests, does all the bussy lab work. I think that experience might help me if nursing research puts you in a lab a lot.

    I'm 90% certain the Nursing Administration route isnt for me. Education would be a good option for me if it meant teaching theory or clinicals at a school, not interested in the hospital nursing educator position. And, like I've said a lot of times on this board, truth is.........if you ask me the "Where do you see yourself in 20 years" personality test question, I would say I still see myself at the bedside. Maybe on a part time basis though, doing something different on the side also. So, the options open to me are countless. I just want to start figureing out which are best for me.
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    Thanks. That clarifies things for me. You'd be surprised at the number of students I talk to who say they are definitely going this way or that way ... but who have NO CLUE about what those jobs are!

    I wish you the best of luck in your explorations.
    BBFRN likes this.


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