Nursing is a noble profession within the healthcare system focused on caring for individuals, families, and communities. Nurses are an integral part of dedicated medical care teams focusing on patient care, and nursing is considered a paramedic field with a level of prestige associated with the profession.
Nurses are the largest group of professionals providing health care services worldwide. Nursing is the profession and practice of providing care for the sick and needy, and nurses play a significant role in caring for people. The challenges faced by the nursing fraternity are enormous, and they come across many unanswered problems in their nursing role finding solutions becomes the need and necessity for this noble profession.
Today nurses play a vital role in patients’ care by giving help and support to patients in managing their illnesses, treatment, and health conditions. They are trained in the nursing profession and are instrumental in caring for and helping patients to make them feel comfortable.
This article explores the evolution of nursing research, trends in nursing research, and the advancing science of nursing.
If a problem is scientifically and systematically analyzed, it is called scientific inquiry, followed by scientific research. Nursing research is no different. Nursing research is the “systematic inquiry designed to develop knowledge about issues of importance to nurses, including nursing practice, nursing education and nursing administration.”
Nurses are health care professionals who not only work in hospitals and clinics but are also scattered in all sectors wherever there is a need for selfless care of the needy. The scope of nursing is wider, and the responsibilities to be carried out by nurses are many. Nurses are involved in caring for patients, interacting and tackling their problems, dealing with patients of different ages and wisdom and facing new challenges daily. All this makes nursing research play a vital role in the nursing profession.
Nursing has several unresolved problems and questions leading to the need for research in nursing. Research provides scientifically authentic solutions that help nurses refine their knowledge and practice. The research in nursing leads to the development of new techniques, technologies, procedures, and therapies for the benefit of nurses and patients. Some examples of nursing research outcomes are in infant care, pain management, patient counseling, and health education.
Nursing research provides evidence to support nursing practices. Nursing has been an evidence-based area of practice since the time of Florence Nightingale to the present day. Many nurses now work as researchers in universities or healthcare settings.
Importance of Nursing Research
Formal education in nursing began in the late 19th century, and nursing research on nursing practices followed nursing education very slowly until 1950. Since then, nursing research has accelerated rapidly and undoubtedly flourished in the twenty-first century. Primarily nursing research is aimed at the promotion of excellence in nursing practices. For nursing professionals, the development of nursing knowledge based on logical reasoning and problem-solving approach helps identify issues and plan evidence-based nursing care.
Currently, a lot of attention is being paid to research in nursing, which will continue in the years to come. It will have implications and impact on nurse administrators, nurse educators, and practitioners. In nursing practice, nurses use their own experience and trial and error for unknown situations. The structured method, based on logical reasoning for solving nursing problems and issues of importance to the nursing profession, is nursing research and is conducted in a disciplined, systematic way.
The quality of nursing care in the future will depend on regular updating and adding new knowledge to the growing nursing profession. Nursing research, with systematic inquiry to find evidence-based solutions for the problem identified, will add knowledge to nursing. Nursing research also helps define nurses’ unique and new roles and expands their professional knowledge. Additionally, nursing research also contributes to the nursing profession’s accountability for nursing services provided to patients.
In the present era, complex health problems require interdisciplinary nursing research to find solutions to society’s multifaceted health and illness experiences.
Advancing Science of Nursing
Research is an organized, systematic, data-based, critical, scientific inquiry or investigation into a specific problem undertaken to find answers to the problem. Research plays a crucial role in advancing science, and for advancing the science of nursing, the role of nursing research is undisputable.
People choose the magnificent nursing profession and enter into nursing practice with diploma programs run by hospitals, associate programs of community or technical colleges, or university-based Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or equivalent degree. Advanced nursing practice programs and certifications often require postgraduate master’s qualifications whose syllabus includes a component of theses or research projects, requiring some research under the guidance of senior faculty.
Many academic institutions and research centers offer doctoral programs. In addition, nurses working in various organizations are encouraged to engage in nursing research through clinical trials and interactions with investigators.
Correct and timely decisions are vital for the patient’s proper care and are fundamental to successful nursing practice. Nurse scientists know this pressure and challenges in successfully comforting nursing care practice. Institutions supporting nursing research prioritize their research missions to include a broad spectrum of issues nurses face, ranging from the beginning of life, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age to end-of-life.
Nursing scientists collaborate with academics in nursing schools and colleges across the country and world, with professional nurses doing nursing practice and all other healthcare professionals, to research contemporary nursing problems. Patients, family members, communities, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are the subjects for carrying out scientific nursing research and publishing their findings for use in the field and for the next generation.
Clinical Nursing Research
Nurse scientists inspire hope and promote patients’ health through integrated clinical practice, education, and research. Clinical nursing research is an aspect of advancing the science of nursing research with a special focus on providing and coordinating clinical care, ensuring participant safety, ongoing maintenance of informed consent, the integrity of protocol implementation, the accuracy of data collection, and data recording and follow-up. The nursing researchers aim to address unfulfilled patient needs and improve the quality of the patient experience.
Nurse scientists engage in clinical research to improve the health of patients and their family members and caregivers across the lifespan and to generate knowledge that supports processes to deliver optimal health care. Nurse scientists engage with physicians, specialist doctors and scientists from various disciplines as well as with researchers external to an institution, to generate knowledge across the continuum of care.
Research institutes support basic and clinical research that develops the knowledge to build the scientific foundation for clinical nursing practice. While clinical nursing research is important, other forms of nursing research are equally significant. Investigations and studies of nursing manpower, nursing education, the nursing profession, and studies of quality assurance in nursing care, nurses’ role in educating patients and establishment of criterion measures for nursing practice are other research priorities.
Pursuing associate degrees such as ADN or ASN will help in becoming a licensed nurse practitioner, leaning towards the clinical side of nursing. Both these degrees can help nurses transition to a specialized role after completing an MSN degree from a reputed university like Spring Arbor University.
Trends in Nursing Research and Research Directions
Nursing research plays a critical role in the nursing profession. Nurses should do research to upgrade their knowledge, solve their queries, provide quality care to patients and be competent enough to tackle professional obstacles. The extended roles and challenges for nurses include becoming an academic for the growth of the science of nursing and a researcher to conduct nursing research.
Some of the priority areas and trends for nursing research that would generate knowledge to guide future nursing practice in promoting health, well-being, and expertise for personal care among all age groups are:
- Developing the nursing knowledge and information needed for the improvement of the practice of nursing is the trend for nursing research worldwide.
- Designing and developing cost-effective healthcare systems that meet the nursing needs of the people and society.
- Decreasing the negative impact of chronic illness on an individual’s productivity and abilities.
- Ensuring that the health care needs of vulnerable people and communities are met strategically.
- Identifying phenomena that cause negative influence due to incorrect nursing practices, like sleep deprivation, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalances, and infections.
- Design and develop cost-effective models for nursing care strategies for individuals, groups and communities.
- Developing interventions for family caregivers to manage stress.
- Developing interventions to improve brain health in older adults admitted to the intensive care unit.
Some current nursing research underway in different institutions includes self-management of chronic disease, such as testing the efficacy of self-management of sedative therapy for anxiety among critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilatory support. Other ongoing research includes ICU nursing concerns, such as assessing sources of discomfort among patients during stays in the intensive care unit, chronic illness care treatments and self-management like vitals recording, developing interventions to improve the well-being of people with lifelong illnesses like diabetes, old age etc. Research is also going on cancer screening, prevention and education, such as developing interventions to manage chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, cardiac care and congenital heart disease, training and education about sexual abuse examination, and more.
Some of the important nursing research trends and advancing the science of nursing include ideas to discover or invent new care techniques and care procedures for advanced nursing knowledge, develop new nursing knowledge about the latest developments in medical science, improve the nursing education system and develop standards, save nursing professionals legally, provide cost-effective quality care to the patients, and fill the gaps between nursing theory and practice.
Nursing Research Model
The primary purpose of nursing research is to advance nursing science that informs nursing practitioners, allowing nurses to provide the best care to their patients. Nurse scientists ensure that findings from their nursing research studies are adapted to everyday patient care by nurses.
Nurse scientists seek solutions to complex healthcare needs among patients and their caregivers. Nursing research falls into three broad categories:
- Caregiving science
- Self-management science
- Symptom science
The nursing research model serves as a guide for the conduct of nursing research in these. Research findings are used to improve the health and well-being of patients.
In conclusion, nursing research is critical to advancing the science of nursing and improving patient outcomes. As the healthcare landscape evolves, nurses must stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in nursing research to provide evidence-based care and drive innovation in the field.
By conducting rigorous studies, sharing knowledge and insights with colleagues, and incorporating research findings into practice, nurses can play a significant role in shaping the future of healthcare.
By prioritizing nursing research and supporting nurses in their research efforts, we can promote high-quality, patient-centered care and make meaningful contributions to advancing nursing science.