Building Perioperative Nursing Research Teams—Part II

Building Perioperative Nursing Research Teams—Part II

APRIL 1997, VOL 65, NO 4 Csokasy Building Perioperative Nursing Research TeamcPart I1 erioperative nurse managers face challenges that reflect the ev...

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APRIL 1997, VOL 65, NO 4 Csokasy

Building Perioperative Nursing Research TeamcPart I1 erioperative nurse managers face challenges that reflect the evolution of American health care (eg, reorganization of work caused by corporate realignment and downsizing, increased use of technology, competition for patients). In this chaotic environment, perioperative nurse managers also must foster staff members’ professional growth and encourage them to learn new concepts, think independently, and make critical judgments effectively. The fiist article of this two-part series describes the use of the experiential learning model developed by David A. Kolb, PhD, and its usefulness in helping perioperative staff nurses learn basic research principles and build nursing research teams.‘ This second article focuses on constraints and enablers to conducting and using nursing research in perioperative practice settings and provides suggestions for perioperative nurse managers to facilitate clinical research. FACILITATING EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING IN NURSING

As adult learners, perioperative nurses must have the independence to make decisions about their learning and they must accept the responsibility for making these decisions. They learn more effectively through holistic integrations of experience, perception, behavior, and cognition (ie, experiential learning) than through rote memorization processes.* Table 1 lists the four steps in the experiential learning model (ie, reflecting, connecting, deciding, doing) and strategies that perioperative nurse managers can use to support staff nurses in their acqui-

sition of research knowledge and the creation of effective nursing research teams. Perioperative nurse managers who believe that research should be learned through participation in real-life situations can use this model to promote staff nurses’ inquiry through research and help them value research as a foundation for clinical pra~tice.~ A team approach to nursing research encourages perioperative nurses to contribute to each other’s learning by sharing information. As facilitators of this approach, perioperative nurse managers help team members examine and strengthen important connections among education, work, and personal development and also help them evaluate practical solutions to perioperative patient care problems. B E N E M OF PERlOPERATWENURSING RUEARCH

A B S T R A C T Perioperative nurse managers can use the experiential learning model developed by David A. Kolb, PhD, to develop a team approach to nursing research and to implement research-based perioperative nursing practice. In this second article of a two-part series, the author describes the benefits of and barriers to developing nursing research teams and provides an overview of print and electronic resources that perioperative nurse managers can use to facilitate nursing research team members’ learning. AORN J 65 (April 1997) 787-790. JUDITH A CSOKASY. RN


Perioperative nurses who participate in clinically based research often experience increased selfesteem and self-confidence in addition to learning the research process. All of these factors foster a heightened sense of professionalism. Through presentation of research findings at conferences and publication of studies in professional journals, perioperative nurses challenge other nurses to learn more about research and conduct clinical research. Perhaps the most important benefit of participating in nursing research is perioperative nurses’ ability to articulate and discuss the research process, to critique the strengths and limitations of published studies, and to apply research principles

APRIL 1997, VOL 65, NO 4 Csokasy *

and findings to their clinical practice settings? Perioperative nurse managers can promote these benefits by performing various roles. These roles include supporting staff nurses' free expression of concerns and ideas, facilitating problem-solving activities, sharing information with staff nurses, applying the research process to discussions, serving as coaches to nurses who want to conduct research, and expecting staff nurses to be responsible for their own learning. BARRIERS TO NURSING RESEARCH

Building perioperative nursing research teams is not a simple process. In many health care organizations, the focus on competition and profit margins has taken precedence over support for continuing education and professional development of staff members. Financial and time constraints in these practice settings make it increasingly difficult for nurses to conduct research? Perioperative nurse managers must consider potential and real barriers and balance the cost of implementing nursing research teams against the benefits of promoting professional growth and research-based nursing practice. By discussing these barriers and costs with staff members, perioperative nurse managers can build support for nursing research teams and help staff members understand realistic boundaries.


Perioperative nurse managers can help staff nurses take advantage of various research study options, grants, and networking opportunities to build nursing research teams and conduct clinical research. For example, staff nurses can study nursing research at home using computerized instructional programs or nursing research textbooks borrowed from hospital or department libraries. One new textbook-Consumer's Guide to Nursing Research: Exercises, Learning Activities, Tools, and Resources-focuses on the nurse's role as an educated research consumer.6 Several books that are written for beginning nurse researchers and nursing students have accompanying study guides with practical learning activities that encourage nurses to apply research concepts in clinical practice. Two such texts are Nursing Research: Methods, Critical Appraisal, and Utilization and Understanding Nursing Re~ e a r c hA . ~suitable textbook for advanced practice nurses is The Practice of Nursing Research: Conduct, Critique, and Utilization.8 Nurse managers also can encourage staff nurses to use the Internet to investigate research opportunities and resources. Many schools of nursing publish their graduate-level curricula at sites on the World Wide Web. The AORN home page provides up-to-date information about services and resources available to perioperative nurses who want to participate in research. Another resource is MedWeb, which features an extensive list of links to research course syllabi,


Experiential learning steps

Nurse managers' roles

Reflecting (ie, spending time in critical incident analysis to generate research ideas)

Support free expression of concerns and ideas. Guide discussion toward professional standards that can serve as criteria for critical incident analysis.

Connecting (ie, creating ideas for action)

Facilitate and interpret the creation of ideas for problem solving through research.

Deciding (ie, agreeing on a course of action)

Apply the research process to discussion and selection of a course of action. Share information with staff members.

Doing (ie, developing a collaborative action plan)

Coordinate mentoring to help nursing research teams achieve positive outcomes. Serve as coaches, leaving the responsibility for learning and applying new knowledge to team members. Expect team members to use AORN practice standards as criteria for self-evaluation. 789 AORN JOURNAL

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objectives, and tests for undergraduate and graduate nursing students. Other on-line sources include the Sigma Theta Tau Virginia Henderson Library, which lists nurse researchers and their areas of study and information about funding and research grants; Community of Science Web Server, which provides information to interdisciplinary researchers across the country; Illinois Researcher Information Services, which enables users to gain access to information about funding from private and federal agencies; and American Journal of Nursing Web site, which includes a researchers’ database and lists other nursing Web sites. NOTES 1. J A Csokasy, “Building periop erative nursing research teams-Part I,” AORN Journal 65 (February 1997) 396-401. 2. D A Kolb, Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc, 1984). 3. S H Gueldner et al, “The undergraduate student as research assistant: Promoting scientific inquiry,” Nurse Educator 18 (May/June 1993) 18-21. 4. N Jairath, M I Fitch, “The


Perioperative nurse managers can use the experiential learning model to help staff nurses build nursing research teams, learn basic research principles, conduct clinical research, and implement sound research findings into clinical practice to improve surgical patients’ outcomes. By facilitating and coaching staff nurses to value, conduct, and use research, perioperative nurse managers can promote the nursescholar role and help build a strong foundation for the unique body of knowledge that is nursing. A

Judith A. Csokasy, RN, PhD, is an associateprofessor, division of nursing, at Indiana University-Kokomo.

generic research protocol: An innovative technique to facilitate research skills development and protocol preparation,” Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing 25 (MayIJune 1994) 111-114; A M Sperhac, S A Haas, J O’Malley, “Supporting nursing research: A representative program,” Journal of Nursing Administration 24 (May 1994) 28-3 I . 5. D L Fawcett, C A Lainof, “A pilot study appraising the climate for perioperative nursing research,” AORN Journal 63 (January 1996) 205-208. 6. H S Wilson. Consumer’s

Guide to Nursing Research: Exercises, Learning Activities, Tools, and Resources (Albany, NY: Delmar, 1996). 7. G LoBiondo-Wood, J Haber, Nursing Research: Methods, Critical Appraisal, and Utilization, thud ed (St Louis: Mosby-Year Book, Inc, 1994); N Bums, S Grove, Understanding Nursing Research (Philadelphia: W B Saunders Co, 1994). 8. N Bums, S Grove, The Practice of Nursing Research: Conduct, Critique, and Utilization, second ed (Philadelphia: W B Saunders Co, 1993).

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