Research Nursing

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    Nursing research is a wide-open field. With more focus on evidence based practice, the role of the nurse in developing these guidelines is more important then ever. Staff nurses have a legitimate role in determining what is important to their practice and what measures they need in order to best care for their patients. This is what research is all about.

    Research Nursing

    Research Nursing covers several facets of nursing. Nursing research develops knowledge to:

    1. Build the scientific foundation for clinical practice,
    2. Prevent disease and disability,
    3. Manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness,
    4. Enhance end-of-life and palliative care.

    Nurses serve in different roles related to research:

    1. Nurses can formulate the question as it relates to a current issue
    2. Nurses can decide who the stakeholders are and how the problem relates to them
    3. Nurses decide how to compile the data and how it will be used

    Research can be formal or informal, related to evidence based practice or a formal research study. Nurses collaborate with other researchers, physicians and other personnel in order to improve patient care or efficiency.

    Duties and Responsibilities

    Research nurses have a myriad of duties depending on their role in the research. For instance, the co-investigator might perform the actual exam of the patient to assess their ability to participate in the study. Other responsibilities:
    • Collecting data
    • Obtaining informed consent from study subjects
    • Formulating plans for disseminating the findings
    • May prepare and publish research findings
    • Implement research conclusions

    Work Environment

    Nursing researchers work in hospitals, nursing homes, factories, offices and many other facilities. Most research positions are daytime hours though some data gathering may occur at all times of the day or night depending on the subject matter.
    Research nurses may occupy a full time position or it may be part of another position where focused research would be accomplished. An example of this is the palliative care nurse who researches how to introduce the palliative care concept in an ICU setting.

    Job Outlook

    Current hot topics of research include end of life care, symptom management, and pain control. As the population ages and patients survive what might not have been survivable a few years ago, there is more of a need for ethics research also. Many hospitals have implemented advanced practice nurse-run palliative care departments. There is a great need to determine who needs palliative care, how to handle consults and end of life care.

    Skills and Qualities Needed For Nurse Researchers

    Nursing researchers must have an interest in research and the betterment of our role. They need to have a basic statistical methods education and the ability to extrapolate data from statistics. Other helpful qualities include:
    • Enthusiasm for the research process
    • Ability to interact and obtain buy-in from all stakeholders
    • Knowledge of department and facilities goals and how this research supports these goals
    • Flexibility as some research projects do not come to fruition
    • Attention to detail and enjoyment of working with data


    Comparative Effectiveness Research in Nursing Care - Excellent article on how to judge research

    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

    National Institute of Nursing Research - this is an organization that originates with the National Institutes of Health.

    American Nurses Association has a dedicated area for research nursing resources.
    Last edit by Joe V on Oct 24, '13
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    TraumaRUs is an APN who has been a co-investigator on several studies and has also collected date in collaboration with several physicians for publication at conferences.

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