Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 5, No. 2 (2008)

Research and Nurses – Engaging the clinical based nurse in research activities

Sandra Walker, CQU

Abstract

Nurses are often involved in medically focused research projects. They frequently act as data collectors for these studies, which are regarded with respect and highly valued by members of the research team and unit staff alike. Nursing research involves the investigation of nursing problems with the goal being improvement of nursing care delivered to clients. The involvement of nurses in clinically focused nursing research has the potential to facilitate the development of team work and research skills, increased nursing knowledge and reduced confusion that may arise as to the difference between medically related projects and nursing research. Therefore nursing research activities should be of interest and valued by all nurses, but alas this is not the case. Many excuses are offered to explain nurses’ reluctance to participate in or support nursing research including a lack of space, time, interest, resources, workload, and understanding. Strategies to improve nursing research activity among nurses include: support from nursing management; the development of a research plan; alignment of particular clinical units with nurse academics who have a research component within their job description, review of nursing research curricula and ensuring these are relevant to nurses and an increase in research funding for nursing research activity. Unfortunately, none of these measures will succeed in promoting nursing research until the nurses themselves support colleagues undertaking the research within the clinical environment.

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