NURSING RESEARCH IN PERSPECTIVE In all parts of the world, nursing has experienced a profound culture change. Nurses are increasingly expected to understand and research and to base their professional practice on research evidence—that is, to adopt an evidence-based practice (EBP) . EBP involves using the best evidence (as well as clinical judgment and patient preferences) in m conductaking patient care decisions, and “best evidence” typically comes from research conducted by nurses and other health care professionals.
What Is Nursing Research?
Research is systematic inquiry that uses disciplined methods to answer questions or solve problems. The ultimate goal of research is to develop and expand knowledge.
Nurses are increasingly engaged in disciplined studies that benefit nursing and its clients. Nursing research is systematic inquiry designed to generate trustworthy evidence about issues of importance to the nursing profession, including nursing practice, education, administration, and informatics. In this book, we emphasize clinical nursing research, that is, research to guide nursing practice and to improve the health and quality of life of nurses’ clients.
Nursing research has experienced remarkable growth in the past three decades, providing nurses with a growing evidence base from which to practice. Yet many questions endure and much remains to be done to incorporate research innovations into nursing practice.
Examples of Nursing Research Questions:
· How effective is pressurized irrigation, compared to a swabbing method, in cleansing wounds, in terms of time to wound healing, pain, patients’ satisfaction with comfort, and costs? (Mak et al., 2015)
· What are the experiences of women in Zimbabwe who are living with advanced HIV infection? (Gona & DeMarco, 2015)
The Importance of Research in Nursing
Research findings from rigorous studies provide especially strong evidence for informing nurses’ decisions and actions. Nurses are accepting the need to base specific nursing actions on research evidence indicating that the actions are clinically appropriate, cost-effective, and result in positive outcomes for clients.
In the United States, research plays an important role in nursing in terms of credentialing and status. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)—an arm of the American Nurses Association and the largest and most prestigious credentialing organization in the United States—developed a Magnet Recognition Program to acknowledge health care organizations that provide high-quality nursing care. As Reigle and her colleagues (2008) noted, “the road to Magnet Recognition is paved with EBP” (p. 102) and the 2014 Magnet application manual incorporated revisions that strengthened evidence-based requirements (NURSING RESEARCH IN PERSPECTIVE). The good news is that there is growing confirmation that the focus on research and evidence-based practice may have important payoffs. For example, McHugh and co-researchers (2013) found that Magnet hospitals have lower risk-adjusted mortality and failure to rescue than non-Magnet hospitals, even when differences among the hospitals in nursing credentials and patient characteristics are taken into account.
Changes to nursing practice now occur regularly because of EBP efforts. Practice changes often are local initiatives that are not publicized, but broader clinical changes are also occurring based on accumulating research evidence about beneficial practice innovations.
At the other end of the continuum are the producers of nursing research: nurses who design and conduct research. At one time, most nurse researchers were academics who taught in schools of nursing, but research