Demystifying nursing Research at the Bedside

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NURSING RESEARCH IS NO LONGER solely the purview of nursing faculty in academia. Inquiry and science are fundamental to raising the bar in nursing practice, improving the patient experience, and enhancing patient outcomes. Acute care hospital environments provide excellent settings for clinical nurses to conduct research that improves quality and patient safety. Magnet® recognition is one approach frequently used to develop a culture that promotes scientific inquiry. Magnet model components require that organizations have a successful and sustainable robust nursing research program.
Delivering excellent patient care is a high priority for nurses, yet this value is often viewed in isolation from the importance of empirical evidence. The barriers to clinical staff members conducting research have been well reported in the literature.1-3 However, with strategic vision and nurse leader support at all organizational levels, building nursing research capacity is achievable.
Evidence-based practice (EBP) has taken a strong hold in nursing curricula and among frontline nurses across the country. Is it a reasonable expectation that every nurse at the bedside has integrated EBP into their daily work? Yes! Nurses who are becoming familiar with searching the literature to find answers to clinical questions are no longer satisfied with the “this is the way we've always done it” approach. Is it a reasonable expectation that every nurse at the bedside should conduct research? No! However, frontline nursing staff members who express interest in research are instrumental for any organization to build research capacity.
So, what does it take for clinical nurses to successfully execute a research project? Equally important, what does the nurse leader of today need to have in place to support nursing research? (See Table 1.
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