As the profession shifts towards evidence-based practice, research has become integral to nursing. Nurses now have to utilize evidence from clinical trials to demonstrate the suitability of their preferred methods in service delivery. Nurse researchers also base their theoretical proposal for improving service delivery on scientific findings. As a result, nursing research is increasingly becoming the basis of the nursing profession. Even grand nursing theories are now being subjected to research as nurses seek to justify the suitability of standard nursing practices.
Additionally, the evolution of the medical industry is placing nurses at the center of service delivery. Nurses play more critical roles in medicine, including unsupervised practices for advanced nurse practitioners. As a result, they need research to advance their knowledge. Scientific research is also part of the higher education system, requiring student nurses to perform various studies to back their theses and claims in assignments.
What is Nursing Research?
Nursing research implies scientific inquiry and other research methods that provide the information and evidence to support practice. Research may be qualitative or quantitative, based on the type of data used to analyze the problem. Qualitative research analyzes non-numerical data from observation, interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires. Quantitative research, on the other hand, seeks to find mathematical evidence using numerical data to quantify relationships and explain phenomena.
The Importance of Research in Nursing Education
A source of knowledge
Research enables students to test their knowledge limits and assess areas of weakness. Nursing students must engage in research to understand real-world problems and exercise care delivery methods. Peer-reviewed studies also provide critical evidence in support of clinical procedures and practices. Nurses must utilize this information to expand knowledge and improve practice. Nursing organizations require their members to obtain knowledge in the profession, including healthcare informatics and cultural competencies.
Research also helps them identify underserved areas and communities. Evidence from peer-reviewed health studies reveals health system failures and guides student nurses on areas of need. For instance, the shortage of nursing staff is one of the biggest challenges the west is facing in the 21st century. However, this shortage is not experienced equally in all areas. Emergency care nurse’s shortage is not necessarily the same as palliative care shortage. Hence, evidence from clinical studies can reveal career opportunities for nursing students.
Guiding skill development
Research helps nursing students develop and refine skills such as critical thinking and teamwork. Scientific inquiry contributes to students’ cognitive development by challenging their understanding of various issues. Research also prompts learners to search for answers from multiple avenues, refining their problem-solving skills. It also teaches them to recognize issues in care delivery and the need for prompt response to medical problems. It also sharpens nurses’ analytical skills improving their ability to perform their clinical duties.
A basis for nursing education and improvement
Associations of nurses recommend the use of evidence-based methods of teaching. Research has become a critical contributor to nursing by guiding education strategies. Research evidence informs teaching by revealing students’ learning styles and influencing teaching mechanisms. Besides, changes in pedagogical approaches are based on needs and available technology. Research explains various educational needs and forms the basis for technological development in education.
Why is Research Important in Nursing?
Research is also important to practicing nurses. At this point in the nursing career, nurses must continuously improve their knowledge and methods of practice. The contemporary healthcare system is complex, with critical subsystems that define care delivery. Similarly, today’s patient is constantly evolving with varying cultural backgrounds and health needs. The treatment methodologies are also continually changing, requiring nurses and other health workers to research and further education.
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Research as a source of information
The importance of research in nursing depends on the need for scientific inquiry. In practice, research is a reliable source of information that can inform behavior, expectation, and responsibilities. Nurses rely on clinical trial findings to gauge the knowledge base’s effectiveness and improve where necessary. They also rely on new knowledge to challenge current and outdated care delivery methods or explain their research purposes.
Research as a problem-solving tool
The need for current problem-solving techniques also shows the importance of research in nursing practice. Nurse researchers use scientific research when faced with an unfamiliar problem. Research has become an incredible tool for investigating alternative solutions to complex problems. Findings may also inform practice when working on historical issues, especially risky activities. Research is also essential for developing more effective new solutions for existing issues despite having acceptable alternatives. Hence, it promotes continuous improvement and efficiency.
Research as a guide to evidence-based practice
However, the most important role of research in nursing is informing evidence-based practice. The developments in methods of care delivery demonstrate the importance of nursing research and evidence-based practice. Nurses engage in research to improve the quality of care. Evidence-based practice involves translating findings from clinical studies to incorporate recommendations in practice. This entails utilizing research evidence to improve care delivery and patient outcome. Medical research often involves significant data on various service delivery aspects and illustrates the effectiveness of health practices.
Using research findings to guide changes in care delivery can only result in better care and happier patients. For instance, a study on the effectiveness of handwashing in preventing hospital-acquired infections would reveal health workers’ behaviors concerning disease transmission. Using the findings from such a study, nurses and managers can recommend the number of times nurses should wash their hands in the hospital environment. Such a study would also compare the approach with alternatives and illustrate a measure of effectiveness and preference. Also Read – A Guide on Quotient and Product Rule formula.
Research as the basis for culturally competent nursing
Peer-review articles guide nurses in treating people from diverse backgrounds. Although the best approach for a culturally competent practice is understanding the patient’s culture, information may not be readily available for all cultures. As a result, nurses use research findings to investigate methods of treating diverse communities. As the world becomes a global village, diversity becomes unavoidable. As a result, nurses must become culturally competent if not attuned to avoid unnecessary interferences with care delivery. They also learn to overcome biases and prejudices that may inhibit service provision.
Research improves nursing standards
Evidence from medical research provides reliable information to correct previous misunderstandings and misinformation. Previously common methods may be based on outdated assumptions and scientific knowledge. With clinical evidence from peer-reviewed studies, researchers can correct such misconceptions and improve nursing standards. This knowledge forms the basis for newer treatment protocols and treatment methodology.
Research guides health policy
Since nursing is one of the essential practices in medical sciences, nursing research findings are used to guide health policy. Policymakers use evidence from clinical trials, randomized control trials, and systematic reviews to weigh the impact of their proposed approaches. Research also forms the basis for regulations in nursing practice, guiding policymakers in defining nurses’ responsibilities and liabilities.