Nurses always have asked questions about patient care, gathering the answers quietly, patient by patient, and keeping those answers within the informal network of their colleagues. All the information was anecdotal, so they shied away from conducting formal research. It was common to hear nurses say, I did not go into nursing to do research!
Today, nurses at Saint Barnabas Health Care System in New Jersey are seeking answers to patient care questions in clinical research at the bedside. They are becoming committed bedside scientists a term coined by Janet Houser and Joanna Bokovoy in the journal Clinical Research in Practice (2006) and using nursing research to find better ways to perform their jobs.
To promote research, the Nursing Research Committee presented De-mystifying Nursing Research. The keynote speaker, Connie Sobon Sensor of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, opened the program emphasizing the professional role of nurses as on-unit researchers. Staff nurses, educators and managers shared their research endeavors the hypothetical questions, interesting answers and practical tools for making research doable. Listed are some of the findings system nurses have discovered from their research.Conference participants from Clara Maass Medical Center include, back row, from left, Donna Giannetto, RN; Maria Lazo, RN; Debra Golaszenski, RN; and Donna Vega, RN. Front row, from left, are Theresa Metta, RN; Marie Hislop, RN; and Roxana Gonzalez, RN.
Nurses at Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood, N.J., asked: What type of nursing uniform best conveys desirable nursing-image traits to patients?
Methods/findings: Using four photos of nurses in different uniforms, patients and staff were surveyed about their uniform preferences. Patients and staff confirmed the uniform worn by nurses is an important indicator of professionalism. Pressed white pants with a multicolored top were the preferred uniform (all-white pants with an all-white top was the least approachable look).
Nurses at Newark (N.J.) Beth Israel Medical Center asked: Which method of learning for nurses lecture or poster education is best for retention of information about pain management and best for learner satisfaction?
Methods/findings: After test administration, test scores of the poster-learning group and the lecture-learning group showed equally effective content mastery, retention and learner satisfaction.
Nurses at Kimball Behavioral Health, a short-stay psychiatric facility in Toms River, N.J., asked: Will symptom-triggered dosing for alcohol withdrawal patients lessen the amount of benzodiazepines administered and reduce lengths of stay?
Methods/findings: When an RN-administered assessment scale (CIWA-AR scale) was used on patients and dosing with benzodiazepines was based on the assessment results, fewer doses of benzodiazepines were needed and lengths of stay decreased by an average of one day.
Nurses at Community Medical Center in Toms River asked: Does the use of rapid response teams improve patient outcomes and decrease mortality?
Methods/findings: By tracking RRT calls, codes and patient outcomes, the use of the RRT resulted in a decrease of codes (outside of critical care areas) from 62% to 43%. Fewer patients needed to be moved into a higher level of care; patient mortality declined.
Nurses at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J., asked: Is the control of pain the immediate concern of patients being admitted to a med/surg unit?
Methods/findings: By interviewing patients, nurses learned that the patients main concern on admission was related to discharge, not to pain control.
Nurses at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, N.J., asked: Is there a difference between the health-promoting behaviors of male and female nurses?
Methods/findings: Using a Health-Promoting Lifestyle questionnaire on male and female nurses, the pilot study did not find any differences in their health promoting behaviors.
Nurses at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., asked: Do nursing internship programs help new graduates socialize into their professional role?
Methods/findings: Using qualitative research data from internship participants, nurse internship programs do positively influence the socialization of the new graduates.
These facilities are representative of research trends across the country, and it is evident the clinical questions nurses can pose are limitless. Nurses, also known as bedside scientists, are getting more involved in gathering data and finding clinical answers.