A growing sector of the nursing industry continues to be in the field of research. Nurses use their research to provide evidence-based care for patients, which in turn promotes health and aids in disease prevention. It has led to the improvement of health in individuals, families, communities, and health systems. Research also helps to influence policy in direct care, policy within an organization as well as at the state and federal level. Globally the impact of nurse-led research is huge, affecting quality of care and disease prevention in hard hit, third world countries.

Supporting a global mission to advance nursing science is at the core of what nurse researchers do.  Nurses have the opportunity to initiate their own research or work together to conduct a study. In the clinical setting, nurses are made aware of the various degrees of patient needs, nurse impact on patient safety, quality of life, health care disparities, and heath behaviors. This presents an opportunity to discover a research need that will help address these areas in the health care setting. Some nurses opt to make research their life’s work, dedicating the focus of their research to a specific issue.

Nurse Research Studies

Nurse researchers may see a need to conduct a study on a specific health condition that is ailing a sector of his or her community. Additionally, research may be conducted to help improve the nurse’s role, about a specific treatment, or understanding a specific ailment. Research is conducted in a wide variety of arenas and nurses that are interested in this type of work are encouraged to find opportunities in their community.  Recent studies have included:

  • Assessment of the challenges of New Hampshire’s cancer survivors, research conducted by Karen Skalla, MSN, ARNP.
  • Self efficacy improvement in Multiple Sclerosis, research conducted by Brant Oliver, APRN, MSN, MPH.
  • Oxygen desaturation in patients on an in-patient epilepsy monitoring unit, research conducted by Karen Secore, MS, APRN, CNRN.
  • Pilot study of yoga as self-care for arthritis in minority communities, research conducted by the NIH and Kimberly Middleton, BSN, MPH
  • The effect of music listening on the amount of opioids used in surgical intensive care patients, research conducted by the NIH and Nancy Ames, RN, PhD.
  • Quantifying and understanding the signs and symptoms of fever, research conducted by the NIH and Nancy Ames, RN, PhD.
  • Naturopathic management of females with HPV, research conducted by Gwenyth R. Wallen, RN, PhD.
  • Hypnosis as pain and symptom management strategy in patients with sickle cell disease, research conducted by Gwenyth R. Wallen, RN, PhD.
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These studies have helped discover ways to improve the challenges of New Hampshire’s cancer survivors, improve in-patient epilepsy monitoring units, promote yoga for arthritic suffers in minority communities, natural therapy for women affected by HPV, and alternative pain research for sickle cell disease. The studies here are just a small sampling of the work conducted by nurse researchers, many helping to shape the way we look at health care today. Findings for these studies can be found on the NIH website as well as on the American Nurses Association website. 

Funding For Nurse Researchers

The nursing community is very supportive of nurse researchers and has provided amazing resources for those interested in starting a research study. The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) is a great place to start when looking for funding, having provided grants to hundreds of nurse researchers.

Universities and colleges also provide funding and opportunities for research studies in your local community. Often this type of support is exclusive to faculty and students, but additional opportunities may be available in your area.

Private funders such as pharmaceutical companies and independent labs have been known to sponsor research. While this might not be a nurse scientists’ ideal scenario, it’s still an opportunity to provide the health care community with insights after a study has been conducted.

Overall, nurse research helps to provide the health care community with answers to the toughest questions, impact global health and make way for advancements in the future. “I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts” – Bill Gates.

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