The Role of Research in Advancing Nursing and Healthcare
In the health care arena, the primary objective is to deliver a safe and effective healthcare. To meet this objective, nurse and midwife practitioners have a task of obtaining and maintaining awareness and interest in research. This can, however, be daunting putting into consideration that health and social care keeps on changing and thus presenting variety of challenges and complexities. Some of these challenges include dealing with an aging population and also facing other age-related health concerns in both children and adults; for instance lifestyle-related chronic diseases and other new endemics. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the significance of nursing and midwifery research within the practice of health professionals and help you develop an appreciation of the importance research and research roles present to nursing and midwifery.
Significance of nursing and midwifery research
Experiential or hands-on learning is important in a clinical setting whereby nurses and midwives are able to appreciate practice at first hand. However, to facilitate this process and enable these practitioners have a deeper understanding of their field, researches are needed. These articles provide information with examples which are used by nurses and midwives to connect and relate their practice to the theoretical aspects of the research. They provide evidence-based information that impacts on real life situations. Nurses and midwives understand that knowledge and skills learning are paramount for effective practice in clinical field. They also understand that emotional learning is necessary too. These three modes of learning are closely interrelated and must be put in place so that the health care can be delivered effectively and holistically. This knowledge helps and allows the practitioners to study various aspects of their practice. For instance, Steelman in his study of the experiences of china-educate nurses who work in Australia, argues that there is need to view ‘difference’ as a socially constructed concept for immigrant nurses working in Australia and elsewhere (Steelman, 2006). Proctor explored the experience and meaning of pain in nursing home residents. He recommended that practitioners understand the feelings residents have when living with pain both physically and emotionally. Proctor believes that nursing is an intervention. He says that as nurses and midwives intervene in community and acute health programs, they will appreciate the necessity of including support and psychological care to patients through patient education programs significantly (Proctor, 2000).
Evidence-based nursing and evidence based midwifery are believed to have originated from evidence-based movement that grew the concerns that clinicians had about the growing mass of clinical trials that were conducted. Therefore, evidence-based practice definitions emphasize mostly on the necessity of integration of the best available evidence in the practice. These definitions also stress the need to include the clinical expertise of the practitioners and the patients’ preferences within the context of limited resources. This has brought about a change in emphasizing people from ‘doing’ research to ‘understanding’ research. Health professionals know very well that they are accountable and also responsible for providing the best and a high standard of holistic patient care. Therefore, a sound knowledge base is needed and also essential to improving the quality of care. These improvements are much dependent on the generation of findings i.e. collecting the findings and integrating them into practice (Braun and Clarke, 2013). It is widely accepted that the process of effective research activity, aligned and incorporated into the evidence-based practice, is the best way to ensure the quality provision of health care. While some nurses and midwives may choose not to conduct research, most of them will recognize the necessity of having the special skills to read reports from research work critically. It is therefore on this basis of understanding that decisions about change of practice can be made.
Links between knowledge, research and practice
Research links education, theory, and practice. Theory is supported by research findings to become the foundation of the theory-based practice in nursing and midwifery field. The educational setting provides a favorable environment in which students can directly learn about the process of research. In the same way, the clinical setting provides the same opportunity for professionals in the healthcare field. In these settings, health professionals can also explore different theories and develop a proper evaluation in the light of the research findings. All the basic primary research used adheres to a set of guidelines and principles that regard to the ethical conduct of research. Nurses working at an advanced level of healthcare practice, normally use all forms of knowledge in great ways to lead the integration of research findings into the diverse practice settings. In many healthcare organizations, evidence-based practice is far more likely to be presented when it is linked to implementing the healthcare policy in practice (Bellman, Webster and Jeanes, 2011)
There have been multiple routes that people have proposed within the nursing and health care literature that aid in the implementation of both reflexive and traditional research evidence into practice. Knowledge transfer, being a relatively new field in the nursing practice, can lead to the utilization of research findings and thus leading to improved outcomes for patients. Therefore, incorporation of research in every aspect of nursing practice is very important not only to nurses, but also to the organization at large.
The element of research in the nursing profession has led to many scholars arguing that the profession bases its practice on research. Research and evidence-based practice are critical in the process of delivery of a safe and quality health care. In formal education settings, nurses are educated in both research and evidence-based practice. Nursing research is defined as a systematic approach or process of inquiry that utilizes rigorous guidelines to produce unbiased and trustworthy answers to questions related to nursing practice. Research can also be viewed as a way of generating or creating new knowledge in a particular field. Through research, nurses understand what new knowledge may be most beneficial to patients. The knowledge acquired from research is translated into practice through the evidence-based practice. The continued learning in research and evidence-based practice increases the nurses’ abilities to improve the safety and quality of the healthcare delivered.
Does the nursing profession base its practice on research?
Research, as seen from the previous part of this paper, does not necessarily improve on the quality of health care; the main goal of conducting research is to create a generalizable new knowledge in this field. In the nursing practice, research is conducted where there is a gap in knowledge relating the current practice. It is also conducted to provide information in places where there is no (or very little) evidence to support a quality improvement activity. Once a gap has been identified, a good nursing research needs to be done and should follow the scientific method. It has been seen that the evidence-based practice promotes the quality improvement in nursing practice greatly. The evidence-based practice bases its operation on the conducted nursing research and thus from this, it can be deduced that the nursing profession solely depends on the conducted research during the practice (Mensik, 2011).
Current nursing practice that is based on research
Chronic diseases are reaching near-epidemic proportions in the world. A good example is type 2 diabetes, which is the fastest growing epidemic disease. This condition is rapidly becoming a major health concern more so to aging populations. It presents complications such as loss of limbs, blindness and kidney failure. To be effective in implement self-management for this condition, nurses are using research materials that help them work with the victims of this conditions. The materials help them understand the role this condition plays in the lives of people and also why some people should follow a particular diet. This is a good example of how the current setting of nursing practice applies the knowledge of the current research.
Current nursing practice that is not based on research
It has been seen that the current research provides new knowledge to the field of nursing. However, not all nursing practices apply the current research in their operations. Some have been reluctant due to various factors. A good example is the approach given by nurses to measure blood pressure in children. The major process used here is known as the noninvasive blood pressure (NIBP) monitoring system. This process uses an oscillometric technique and is a primary method of obtaining blood pressure measurement for both children and adults. For more than twenty years, NIBP monitoring has been used despite the questions concerning its accuracy and reliability. There is a reference standard used for NIBP measurements known as auscultatory method. The best practice recommends that blood pressure should initially be measured through the use auscultatory method before using the oscillometric measurements. However, nurses have been reluctant to use these methods and they have opted to continue using the oscillometric measurement procedures.
In conclusion, both nursing research and evidence-based practice are important in any organizational setting. Organizations should make every effort to make sure that they have equipped their staff with research techniques and also allowing them undergo a rigorous study in research methodologies. Organizations can utilize the local universities or qualified researchers to help them in achieving these goals. These can be very great assets to these organizations. These institutions can also provide and assist in education, research and grant writing, leading journal clubs and also during the consultation process. In addition to this, organizations need to create a good infrastructure that eliminates the noted barriers to research and best practice in the nursing field. The facility’s policies and procedures should be adjusted so that they be in line with the research requirements. The process of creation and reviewing the policies, procedures and guidelines should include a rigorous process that will enhance an appropriate research finding process that will level and present high-quality evidence. Research and evidence based practice will help in bridging the gaps in quality patient care. Sharing and translating evidence have been proven to be the best ways in the application of findings to practice. The more evidence a nurse is able to share, the more likely it is that other nurses in the same field will make a change in their practice. Nurses should learn the element of being leaders in promotion of quality and safe care through the application of research and evidence-based practice.
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