The Need to Elevate Nursing Research
As nurses and midwives, we understand our accountability and responsibility for providing the best standard of care for our patients. Nursing research can better inform that path to quality healthcare. Yet, there seems to be a gap between the unmet health priorities and the kind of evidence-based nursing research needed to help improve health outcomes.
To help address this gap, the KEMRI – Wellcome Trust Research Programme (KWTRP) delivered a presentation, Raising the Profile of Nurses in LMIC Settings Through Research, at the Building Capacity for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership in Africa conference this past June.
KEMRI is a state corporation established through the Science and Technology (Amendment) Act of 1979, as the national body responsible for carrying out health research in Kenya. Ranking as one of the leading centers of excellence in health research both in Africa as well as globally, they are making a significant impact in facilitating and encouraging nurses to participate in research.
At the conference, KEMRI’s presentation addressed the importance of nursing research and its impact on patient care. Noting nurses are the largest component of the healthcare workforce yet, have very little involvement in policy or decision making. There seems to be a lack of recognition of nurses as key stakeholders in policy development as well as in leadership and management. KEMRI also found the challenges nurses face in the work setting — lack of role clarity and task allocation, material/drug shortages, low nurse-patient ratio, low staff morale — has a direct impact on their ability to deliver quality of care. The presentation concluded there is need for further research on how to improve the professional identity of the nurse to impact policy making and link nurses to roles in leadership and management. Likewise, more research is needed on how to cultivate healthier work environments to provide quality patient care.
KEMRI has numerous research centers throughout Africa that focus on six main research programs: Biotechnology, Natural Products Research & Drug Development, Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, Public Health & Health Research Systems, Non-Communicable Diseases and Sexual, Reproductive, Adolescent & Child Health. Numerous achievements have been accomplished including, the development of National Guidelines for Prevention of Cervix, Breast and Prostate cancers.
To elevate nursing research, nursing needs to continue to move the discussion forward from just awareness of research to a better understanding of how research findings can be used to inform clinical practice to provide quality health outcomes. It will also require continued efforts of nurses and midwives to broaden the discussion outside our profession and work with government and partner organizations to increase and support nursing research priorities.
We welcome your feedback and encourage you to share research you have done or research topics of interest. Please email us at [email protected] to share your information. Thank you for being a part of global nursing development!
Yours in Nursing,
Lisa D. Cole, MA, RN
MBF Center for Global Nursing Development