What Is the Role of Research in Nursing?

Nursing research came to the forefront in the profession in 2001 when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on the Quality of Health Care in America (the IOM changed its name to the National Academy of Medicine [NAM] in 2015) published Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21 Century. In this report, the IOM committee laid out a guideline for how to decrease medical errors. One of the recommendations called for healthcare professionals to take logical steps in providing care and to make competent decisions by implementing research. This recommendation is still important today.

The Importance of Research

The main goal of nursing research is to increase successful patient outcomes. Nurses combine their scientific knowledge and the results of their research to provide optimal healthcare. Nurses should understand and implement the latest research. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) introduces nursing students to the practice of incorporating research into the care they administer.

Why Do Nurses Use Research?

The scientific knowledge that research yields is beneficial to all types of nursing practice. It can inform productive health policy and impact the well-being of patients. The combination of nursing practice and research can elevate delivery of care. For example, nurses can conduct research about anorexia and bulimia to assist patients with eating disorders.

How Do Nurses Use Research?

When nurses meet a new patient, they should assess the patient’s situation, analyze related research, apply the evidence and evaluate the outcome. Research in nursing can alleviate patients’ symptoms and prevent or delay the onset of a disease or disability.

Research Instruction in BSN Programs

Students in a baccalaureate program learn about research methods as they pertain to the nursing profession. In a nursing research course, students learn useful techniques. BSN program research courses may instruct students in the following:

  • Gathering information.
  • Navigating print and electronic tools.
  • Analyzing evidence.
  • Applying results.

For students interested in earning a BSN degree, California State University at San Marcos offers an online RN to BSN program. As part of the School of Nursing at CSUSM, students participate in a nursing research course that details how to integrate scientific evidence into clinical practice. Students develop skills in reading, accessing and evaluating research.

Working as a Nurse Researcher

The field of nursing research is growing, and nurses can assume nursing researcher roles. A nursing researcher works to reveal new advancements in healthcare. They may conduct federally or privately funded studies to collect evidence that can enhance delivery of care in all clinical settings. Nurses can specialize in different kinds of research such as the following:

  • Clinical research.
  • Health systems and outcomes research.
  • Nursing education research.

Clinical research examines patients’ acute and chronic care experiences as well as their health history. This information can benefit the patients at every healthcare stage, including preventative and end-of-life care.

Health systems and outcomes research identifies ways healthcare organizations can improve quality, limit spending and prioritize patients’ experiences. These researchers focus on clinical services and the operation of a healthcare organization. They explore issues that affect patient care quality and operating costs.

Nursing education research examines how nurses apply their knowledge. Researchers determine ways to incorporate technology into nursing education in order to promote lifelong learning and encourage nurses to pursue leadership positions.

Nursing research enables nurses to determine the best resolutions for their patients. By incorporating research, nurses have the information they need to administer effective and safe care. Nurses who know the latest advances in healthcare can interact better with their fellow healthcare professionals, and they may reduce their chances of making mistakes that can negatively affect patients.

Learn more about the CSUSM online RN to BSN program.


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