Readings and Overview
||Objective 1. Define research
and nursing research.
What is research? Research is a diligent and systematic
inquiry undertaken to refine or validate existing knowledge and
generate new knowledge.
What is nursing research? Nursing research is a
process that refines or validates existing knowledge and generates new
knowledge that will directly or indirectly influence nursing practice.
The ultimate goal of nursing research is to provide an empirical basis
to guide nursing practice, what is referred to as EBP.
||Objective 2. Describe the ways
acquiring nursing knowledge (tradition, authority, borrowing, trial and
error, personal experience, role modeling, intuition, reasoning, and
research) that you use is your practice.
What is knowledge and how is it acquired in nursing?
Knowledge is essential information that should reflect reality and
provide a direction for a person's actions. In nursing, knowledge
directs the action of providing nursing care. Consequently, the
knowledge must be credible and of high quality to direct nurses'
actions that range broadly from providing comfort care to managing the
administration of life-saving drugs and techniques.
Historically, nursing has acquired knowledge through
authority, borrowing, trial and error, personal experience, role
modeling, intuition, and reasoning. Although some of these methods of
acquiring knowledge continue to be of use in nursing, in the past
decade more emphasis has been placed on providing a sound research base
for nursing practice. This is evident in the contents of nursing
textbooks and in hospital policy and procedure.
- Tradition - This represents knowledge based on
truths and beliefs that come from customs and trends. An often-heard
explanation for this type practice is "This is the way we have
always done it." Think of a procedure in your clinical area where
tradition might be the basis of practice.
- Someone who is considered an authority in nursing may have published
books or articles, may have an advanced education, or may be an expert
clinician. Right here in the SON we have internationally recognized
nursing authorities. These faculty are examples of those nurses
recognized as authorities through their work:
- Developing nursing theory - Dr. Merle Mishel
developed the Theory of Uncertainty that has guided much nursing
research in the care of adults and children experiencing acute and
- Developing effective health promotion interventions
- Dr. Joanne Harrell has developed school-based exercise programs for
children to help combat the problems of inactivity and obesity which
lead to heart disease.
- Developing knowledge of caring for medically
- Dr. Diane Holditch-Davis conducts studies that focus on many aspects
of better understanding the care and development of medically fragile
- Borrowing - This
involves the use of knowledge from other disciplines to guide nursing
practice. These disciplines include medicine, sociology, psychology,
physiology, and education. Borrowing from another discipline works when
the borrowed knowledge is integrated into nursing's body of knowledge
- Trial and error
- Using this approach implies that different solutions will be tried
until the right one is found. This has the potential to be very
detrimental when applied to providing nursing care. However, nurses
engage in a certain amount of trial and error when we apply an approved
intervention to the individual. We have policy and procedure to guide
the insertion of a Foley catheter, but individual anatomy can result in
trial and error during insertion.
- Personal experience
- Nurses gain knowledge and experience by seeing and doing. This method
of knowledge acquisition is well recognized in nursing and has even
provided the basis for a theory of how the nurse transitions from a
novice to an expert clinician. The differences between reading about
giving an injection, giving an injection to an orange or a classmate,
and actually giving an injection to a real patient are vast. The first
injection was a major task to be undertaken, but with experience we
become quite knowledgeable about how to administer the least painful
- Role modeling - Watching and
imitating the behaviors of the expert nurse is another way nurses gain
knowledge. Many clinical orientation programs for nurses are based on
the concept of role modeling.
- Intuition - This is best described as having that "gut
feeling" or "hunch" about something. Intuition is best used
in nursing care as the impetus to do a more in-depth assessment.
- Reasoning - This is the processing and
organization of ideas to reach a conclusion. There are two types of
- moving from the specific to the general; from specific observations
to broader generalizations and theories. Theory development represents
this type of reasoning in which different concepts are joined to make a
- Deductive - the opposite of inductive, moving
from the general to the specific. We might begin with thinking up a theory
about our topic of interest; then narrow that down into more specific
hypotheses that we can test. We narrow down even further when we
collect observations to address the hypotheses. Theory testing
represents this type of reasoning. The relationships between the
individual concepts in a theory are examined.
the online assignments to Bb no later than midnight Monday, August 27.
Activity 1 What brings you back to school
In about two paragraphs, tell us who you
are. Information to
share can include nursing specialty, years in practice, reasons for
for a BSN, future goals, where you live, family, pets, hobbies, and
else you might want us to know about you.
2 - Evidence-based Practice
1. Discuss your thoughts about
how practicing staff nurses do or do not gain access to research to
2. Describe the extent to which nursing practice in your agency is
influenced by research?
3. What are some of the barriers to EBP in your setting?
Describe a continuing education or staff development program you might
design to help staff in your agency improve practice through research
in a selected area. Would Rogers’ theory of research utilization be
helpful to you in designing your program? How would it be helpful?