Nursing research is an important field that is constantly evolving nursing practices and forms of treatment. Through the implementation of findings that are discovered through nursing research, the field of healthcare is constantly being innovated and grown in significant ways.
Understanding the important role that nursing research plays in the evolution of healthcare can give one a clearer perspective on the inner workings of the field.
Here is nursing research and its role in advancing healthcare knowledge.
How Nursing Research Improves Patient Outcomes
In essence, nursing research is a field that focuses on developing knowledge that centers around discovering the best ways to provide patients with care and ways nurses can respond most effectively to various situations. By utilizing the experiences of nurses, researchers are able to gain a deeper look at how nurses affect the health outcomes of the patients they treat.
Given that nurses are constantly providing care to patients, nursing research helps to identify the practices that work best. Over time, these findings are then disseminated throughout healthcare and may become common practice across various institutions. In this way, nursing research has the power to iterate processes and find the best treatment solutions for various patient scenarios.
How Nursing Research Fuels Evidence-Based Practice
In healthcare, there is a concept of medical care called evidence-based practice. Put simply, it’s the practice of consistently integrating information from new research when treating patients. For nurses, this can be an incredibly useful practice that allows them to always be sure that they are taking advantage of the most useful and effective practices.
Nursing research offers specialized information that nurses can draw on when engaging in evidence-based practice. As such, nurses’ intent on providing patients with the most exceptional care possible can do so by looking to findings from the field of nursing research.
The Role of Nurses in Research
Research in the medical field aims to learn more about how human beings function and react to various treatments. Ultimately, the findings from research being conducted in the field are meant to contribute to the healthcare industry’s understanding of how to best treat and heal patients. In this process of discovering new health-related insights, nurses play a vital role in making and recording observations that can ultimately be used to gain deeper insights into the way that people heal.
Nurses engaging in research efforts typically have two main roles: communicating their intentions to patients being studied and accurately collecting data.
When it comes to patient communication, nurse researchers must be clear with patients about their aims and the fact that they are engaging in a research study. A failure to do this effectively could mean a failure to uphold the ethical standards of the nursing profession.
As it pertains to collecting data, this is an extremely important practice and has a dramatic effect on the information gleaned from research trials. If nurse researchers collect faulty data, the findings of the study could prove to be inaccurate, and if the insights gleaned from the study are implemented into practice, potentially harmful to patient outcomes.
The Tension Between Nurse Care and Nurse Research
In healthcare, there may sometimes be a divide between those engaging in research and those looking to care for and treat patients. Specifically, this tension comes from the fact these professionals may have different aims for their work and therefore are working toward different, and sometimes clashing outcomes.
For nurses who aren’t actively engaged in research, their top priority is providing quality care to patients, being honest with them about treatments, and doing everything in their power to help patients reach positive health outcomes. This practice comes with a specific set of actions that nurses engage in to help them uphold their ethical standards and achieve their professional goals.
Conversely, nurse researchers, while still ethically bound to promote positive health outcomes in patients, primarily aim to uncover new insights by observing patients and how they respond to various treatments. Oftentimes, this can mean asking patients to put themselves in a position that involves some degree of risk.
An example of this tension comes when researchers are studying the safety of a specific drug. In these cases, patients will have to undergo the risk of an experimental treatment having adverse effects that could potentially result in negative health outcomes. For nurses treating the patient, this can go against their ethical code of ensuring that patients are receiving the best health outcomes possible.
This tension is one of the main difficulties facing nurse researchers engaging in research efforts that look to assess the safety of certain drugs or treatment methods. While they must work to uncover insights that could potentially benefit the public at large, they still have an ethical responsibility to ensure that they are providing patients with the highest-quality care possible.
How Nurses Can Pursue a Career as a Nurse Researcher
For nurses looking to advance their career and step into a specialty that has the potential to improve the practice of nursing and the health outcomes of scores of patients, becoming a nurse researcher is an amazing path. However, much like becoming a nurse educator, stepping into the role of nurse researcher takes a sizable amount of time to become qualified. Understanding the process of becoming a nurse researcher can make it less intimidating to explore as a career option.
Here are some of the steps one can take to become a nurse educator.
Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree
To eventually become qualified to act as a nurse researcher, one must first earn a bachelor of science in nursing. For those who are already practicing registered nurses, there are specialized programs that can streamline the process of earning this degree, making it a ripe choice for career advancement.
Gain At Least Two Years of Nursing Experience
Once one has obtained a BSN and become qualified as a nurse, one must practice as a nurse for around two years. The reason for this is that most masters of nursing programs require at least two years of nursing experience to enroll.
Obtain a Master of Nursing Degree
After one has gained an adequate amount of experience to qualify for advanced nursing degree programs, it’s time to enroll in a program. After obtaining an MSN, one will be very close to becoming qualified to work as a nurse researcher.
Once receiving an advanced nursing degree, one must become certified to conduct research professionally as a nurse researcher. Upon receiving certification, one will be qualified to start working as a nurse practitioner and making an impact on general healthcare knowledge that is used to treat patients.
Nursing Research Plays a Key Role in Pushing Healthcare Forward
Nurse researchers play a vital role in conducting studies that provide the field of healthcare with insights that make it possible to make healthcare more effective. The work of these professionals has the power to make an impact on the lives of masses of patients and improve the profession of nursing as a whole.
While it takes a significant amount of time and effort to become qualified for the role, those who do have the power to make a dramatic impact on healthcare and potentially save lives.