How Registered Nurses Can Get Actively Involved in Clinical Research?
Ayinla Daniel, RN.
[Chief Editor Care City Blog].
Adisa Abosede, RN.
Registered Nurses in developed & developing parts of the world are actively getting involved in clinical research with Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (CNS, ARPN’s & DNP’s) taking part in researches, initiating collaborative efforts in the multidisciplinary team, becoming active in advocacy and recent developments are providing Nurse Practitioners with the power of full autonomy or partial autonomy – states like Nebraska, Connecticut & New York have policies that grant Nurse Practitioners the autonomy to practice with a Physician, on collaborative grounds, while states like Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, and some other states have given NP’s full autonomy.
This development is possible due to several elements and the involvement of Registered Nurses in the world of clinical research is a major contributing factor. The vast world of clinical research seeks to address health care problems ranging from diagnostic procedures, medications, medical devices, etc.
Clinical research can be viewed as the laboratory that tests new hypothesis; validates theories, approving them by backing them up with sufficient evidence base for practice, while making sure that safety has been integrated into the systems that are about to be approved for consumption by patients & clients.
The innovative aspect of clinical research is an area we will really love to talk about. Registered nurses have to really understand the pillars of innovation education, for them to be able to appreciate the concept of innovation in clinical research.
Research is an integral part of any profession that serves as the bedrock for maintaining a balance between theory and practice. Nursing as a profession that combines the scientific and practical approach into problem-solving to deliver high-quality patient care (Evidenced-based practice) cannot exist without clinical research.
Clinical nursing research requires the utilization of a variety of abilities and skills, including critical thinking and problem solving, as well as clinical and research knowledge.
Nurses are the backbones of health care systems, they are at the epicenter of all that goes on in the health care environment, therefore, they must be actively involved in clinical research, because their insights and unique perspectives can never be overlooked. They have the capacity to introduce remarkably and intellectually healthy & effective & safe concepts and ideas into the world of clinical research which can go a long way in positively influencing patient’s/client’s outcomes.
Clinical research serves as a base for striking balance between the theoretical and practical aspect of Nursing, as we could observe from the days of Florence Nightingale that nursing research has been the substratum for developing care duties that guide nursing practice and to improving patient outcomes.
The Nursing profession is practical oriented. We will never succeed if we want to suck out the clinical aspect of nursing from the profession, which if one succeeds in doing so, all we will have for our selves is an empty hall – with nothing in it. Registered Nurses with higher degrees, vast experiences and exposures should be encouraged to migrate into the clinical areas. They should also be encouraged to bring in their experiences and exposures into the complex and challenging field of clinical nursing research.
In past years, especially in developing countries or regions, Nurses haven’t taken clinical research serious, which is due to some Personal (lack of interest, poor motivation, the belief that research is difficult), Organizational (tedious work schedules, lack of support /encouragement, unfavorable environment for academic progression) and Government (lack of investment in nursing and nurses, non-involvement of nurses in decision/policy making) reasons. These areas can be positively manipulated to help improve the culture of clinical research among Registered Nurses.
To get actively involved in clinical research, Registered Nurses must:
- know that research is an integral part of nursing practice; the profession cannot exist without it and her survival and development greatly depend on it.
- They must understand that their contributions will go a long way in advancing nursing and medical sciences.
- Have a mindset that wants to know more – “intellectual curiosity” . Research is all about knowing and wanting to know more which is best translated into the curious elements of why, how, when, and when of happenings around us.
- Be well equipped with the knowledge of how research should be conducted.
- Get mentors/leaders that will always motivate and inspire nurses who are passionate about clinical research spurring them to do more.
- Participate more in scholarly activities/discussions, attend seminars, and conferences that teach on the nitty-gritty of research.
- Keep your focus and ensure that you work towards achieving your dreams and goals.
- Build competencies, learn, learn, and learn more.
- Learn how to utilize available resources.
- Get yourself registered in an active research club or journal clubs. Find your team, i.e. people with the same interests.
What are these tools that must be utilized to ensure that Registered Nurses, especially in Nigeria get actively involved in clinical research?
These tools are not really novel in themselves, but these are tools that have been present in the fields, but have been poorly utilized by clinicians in the field of nursing practice. Let us take a brief look at these tools:
- The Ward Round Tool: The Ward Round is a clinical practice that many take for granted. We may not be able to sufficiently talk about this tool in this article, but it is important that clinicians begin to appreciate the importance of ward round as it translates to peeking into the world of clinical research and bringing out clinical problems that the search light of research needs to be focused on. Registered Nurses can use the active interactions that go on in serious ward rounds to help them discover clinical research problems.
- Conferences and Seminars: Conferences and seminars are very good avenues that can fuel the fires of clinical research. In conferences and seminars, nursing clinicians get the opportunity to discuss with clinicians from various fields and they get to interact and share ideas, scrutinize opinions and share experiences.
- Interdisciplinary Collaborations: It is imperative that we encourage nursing clinicians to seek for opportunities to collaborate with other professionals. Opportunities abound in the area of clinical research. If nursing clinicians can invade the stores of other professions, they will be amazed at the wealth of ideas that they will find there that can direct their clinical research endeavours.
- Active Clinical Contributions: Registered Nurses should be encouraged to make contributions to major clinical endeavours. They should not be left behind or relegated to the background. When institutions organize clinical symposiums, registered nurses should be given the opportunity to also make their own contributions. When they are exposed to scenarios like this, they also begin to develop interest in the area of clinical research.
- Preceptorship & Mentorship: One aspect of the profession that needs adequate attention. More experienced nurses in the profession can be great sources of inspiration for nurses who are just getting to take their first clinical steps. In the clinical fields, more advanced nurses should be drafted into preceptorship and mentorship programmes where they are paired with younger nurses in the clinical areas. This interaction is aimed at grooming the younger nurses and exposing them to the realities and possibilities in the nursing profession and in this context, clinical research.
- The Research Tool: Clinical research is empty without the gospel of traditional research. Clinicians must be conversant with clinical research tools. The registered nurse must be able to manipulate research tools & utilize them in carrying out clinical researches.
- Higher Degrees and Learning: Higher degrees expose registered nurses to the complexities that encompasses the clinical world. By their ascension, they are better trained and educated to detect areas in clinical practice that needs attention. Registered Nurses that are doctorate prepared have a lot to contribute to the area of clinical nursing research.
- A Strong Interest In The Students: The young nursing students are the future of nursing practice. We must pay close attention to them. They must begin to imbibe the nature of research even while they are still in studies.
- More Autonomy In Practice: The health care universe is changing. Roles of health care professionals are widening, physicians are beginning to discover newer and novel areas in medical practice, registered nurses are also uncovering newer areas in nursing practice that require closer attention, in the field of pharmacology, novel areas are being discovered. In recent years, registered nurses have expanded in their depth of knowledge and exposure in clinical practice and the clamour for more autonomy in nursing practice is beginning to get wider acceptance as we begin to understand the reason why registered nurses should be able to have a degree of autonomy in practice, not without the challenges and modifications, especially in training. If registered nurses are given more autonomy in clinical practice, there will be more motivation for them to participate in clinical researches as they will frequently come in contact with more challenging situations in clinical practice.
In the next part of this article, we are going to give this theme more structure. We will try to add some more substance to what we have discussed and we will also take into consideration other perspectives and study other ideas.
About The Featured Author
Adisa Abosede is a person of diverse interests from Nursing to Teaching the word of God to Fashion designing to writing and to volunteering, she loves to see everyone prosper in all aspects of their life, she’s self driven and result oriented. You can send her a mail here. Or reach her via the following social media handles:
FB: Adisa Abosede
Twitter: @Nurse Havy