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The Importance of the Nurse Researcher in Health Care

January 5th, 2011

Not all nurses have to work in hospitals seeing to patients and conversing with doctors, many choose to work in laboratories, universities, and health care facilities conducting nursing research. The purpose of this type of research is to find evidence that supports scientific principles, concepts, and theories behind the practice of nursing. Conducting research studies related to the nursing practice is important as findings are used to advance or better health care services and health care outcomes. In other words, nursing research is about combining evidence-based practice with bedside manner for the purpose of providing the best possible health care.

Nurse researchers work to identify issues and questions that need to be addressed, design and carry out research studies, analyze results, and identify how findings can be integrated into practice. To do this they may conduct quantitative research, which concentrates on measurable patient outcomes, or qualitative research that focuses on the experience of patients who receive care or the nurses themselves who deliver it. Often these types of nurses work alongside or collaborate with scientists in the fields like medicine, pharmacy, and nutrition. Along with health and educational facilities, you may see them working for private companies, research organizations, or health policy nonprofits. Many also choose to specialize in a certain areas related to applied nursing research like patient education, pain management, nurse/doctor collaboration, nursing diagnosis, and discharge planning.

One of the most important things about having nurses themselves work in the area of research is their unique perspective. Having worked closely with patients, they are more concerned about how they can help their patients better receive treatment or educate them about disease prevention rather than about the treatment of disease itself. Nurse researchers often publish studies based on the data that they collect on practices and products within medical, pharmaceutical, and nursing fields. These types of studies are vital to the practice of nursing as they help to determine how services can be more effectively implemented, discover ways to improve patient quality of life, and find out how to better reduce patient risk.

Those who desire to conduct research in the field of nursing should know that they may have to complete more education than the average RN. Not only will they have to earn a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing , but are often required to have a Master's of Science in Nursing or even a Ph.D.