Nursing Students and Doing Research

Evidence based practice is an important part of a nursing degree, it is therefore not surprising that nurses in training need to engage with research. Nursing students will need to critique research articles, draft research proposals, conduct their own research and consider the implications for their own present and future practice. Evidencing academic nursing assignments with relevant research studies is one of the first rule that nursing students will need to understand; low evidence is likely to result in low marks. Study Coach is in the business of supporting students with their research proposal and research project; contact Morel Benard  for support with research. A recent Nursing Times article suggests that research is about to become even more fundamental to the world of nursing and that qualified nurses will be required to become more involved in doing research during their career. 

The suggestion is that nurses at all levels should be involved with conducting research, and that the requirement for nurses to conduct research should be enshrined in nurses employment contract. Now, from my experience at Study Coach working with student nurses I’m not of the opinion that nurses will be full of glee at the prospects of undertaking research throughout their career. Critiquing literature and drafting a research proposal usually create great anxiety for the majority of nursing students. Getting to grips with terms such as qualitative and quantitative, employing Caldwell critiquing tool and other research tools and engaging with research principles and language is a stressor for many nursing students. If all qualified nurses are required to engage with research then this could impact on the numbers of people choosing to enter the nursing profession. I’m also concerned how all nurses will find the time to conduct research when they already have a heavy workload caring for patients and carrying out nursing administrative duties.  

I understand from the Nursing Times article that Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has build a requirement into the job description for nurses in all bands to get more involved in doing research. The work at Moorfields is specialised and there is a need for more clinical audits and for more research to be published, this perhaps provides justification for the requirement for nurses at all bands to be involved in research. It is however questionable whether all qualified nurses in Adult nursing and other related areas of nursing, should be required to conduct research. It is argued that if it becomes compulsory for all nurses to conduct research then this will create greater stress for nurses; there is also a danger that time allocated to research will have a negative impact on the practicality of caring and providing patient centred care on wards. Continuous professional development programmes are clearly important in health care and nurses should be encouraged to improve their skills and engage with evidence based practice. It is however questionable whether all nurses in all bands are best placed to conduct research.  

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