Nurse Researcher

Research must be relevant to real life Rosslyn Eames-Brown from the School of Nursing, University of Wollongong, talks to Professor Jane Mills about the challenges facing nursing research in Australia JANE MILLS is Professor of Nursing at James Cook University, Australia and the director of its Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Research. She is an internationally recognised grounded theorist and has significant expertise in rural nursing. When and why did you develop an interest in research? I had dabbled in research during my clinical career and, of course, became more knowledgeable and focused while completing my master’s and my PhD. My interest in research was sparked when I saw first-hand what a difference research can make to the development and growth of nurses as professionals and educated people and, subsequently, how that can lead to improvements in patient care. For me, research is about making a difference to people’s health. It can be done at the bedside and it can be done in academia. I want to make a difference by providing academic and research leadership. Who has been most influential in your career as a nurse and as a researcher? The timely words and actions of several people influenced some of my key career decisions. The first person of professional influence was probably Marcia Fawdry (then the director of nursing, community nursing). I met Marcia when I returned to Australia after working in England as a registered nurse. I was applying for a job and they were ‘thin on the ground’ in nursing at the time. She initiated a ‘getting of wisdom’ process for me by asking, during a job interview for a community nurse position in Tasmania, what I would do if I did not get the position. The default option, I explained, would be to undertake a nursing study programme 40 May 2015 | Volume 22 | Number 5

at the University of Tasmania to upgrade my qualifications. At this point, she offered to employ me, but only after I completed tertiary study. True to her word, she employed me on graduation and, from there, it was a rapid rise through the ranks to the post of nursing unit manager, at which time I also undertook a master’s degree. Marcia recognised the need for tertiary-educated nurses and a methodical approach to succession planning. Other mentors, including Professor Karen Francis (Charles Stuart University, Australia) and Lesley Siegloff (Royal College of Nursing, Australia) built on this foundation. Karen encouraged me to enrol in a PhD, and to adopt a grounded theory for my research question. This work subsequently led to the development of my international reputation in grounded theory publications. Lesley provided collegial support as we were both members of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia. Involvement in college activities provided superb training for some of the activities that would later become a normal part of my academic brief. Of your published research, which do you think has been the most influential? This is a hard question. The citation rates are high for my papers around methodology as well as nursing and general practice, which suggests they have maintained relevance

Researchers need to demonstrate the many ways that nursing research can improve costeffectiveness and show actual health benefits for patients

and that other researchers find them useful. My PhD findings also continue to influence strategic planning issues for rural nurses. Perhaps one of the reasons the work has been influential is because, in addition to its academic rigor, it has addressed themes and issues of contemporary importance to the community and government. What do you think the current research challenges are? Health research in Australia faces many challenges. Specific challenges for nursing research relate particularly to funding, the research culture and succession planning for nursing academics. The funding of nursing research is problematic because funding bodies favour the multidisciplinary approach to health research rather than the discipline-specific approach. A strength of the multidisciplinary approach is its capacity to yield high-level policy recommendations. Corresponding weaknesses, however, are the difficulties associated with translating high-level recommendations into concrete strategies and practices that can be implemented at the clinical practice level. Discipline-specific research is possibly better equipped to produce the type of information that has the capacity to improve delivery of care. This need for discipline-specific research also ties in with the need to undertake nursing research that will specifically inform the development of nursing care models that can deliver services more effectively and cost-efficiently. The third challenge that faces nursing research in future is a lack of appropriately educated and experienced nursing academia to lead research and guide development of the nursing profession. This is a consequence of under investment in nursing research and an undervaluing of nurses’ research contribution. Which of your achievements has given you the most satisfaction? That is a hard question too, but it would have to be the successful completion of my PhD as it was such an affirming process. What research projects are you currently working on? This year I am concentrating mainly on finishing up a few projects. One of these NURSE RESEARCHER

Downloaded from by ${individualUser.displayName} on Jan 31, 2016. For personal use only. No other uses without permission. Copyright © 2016 RCNi Ltd. All rights reserved.

Opinion projects investigates the practical and psychological reasons why patients attend emergency departments. I am also leading two exciting projects. One is an examination of the digitalisation approach to record-keeping in Cairns Hospital. The other one, a national study, will examine the career development of registered nurses in the first five years post-graduation. In addition, a number of innovative studies are being undertaken by higher studies candidates under my supervision. What tips would you give someone new to research in nursing? It is useful to surround yourself with suitable mentors and to participate in advisory teams, review journal articles for publication purposes, develop networking skills and create networking opportunities. Valuable experience can also be gained by participating in academic supervisory teams and, for those new to examining theses, obtaining permission to shadow an experienced thesis examiner for educational purposes. On a more abstract level, it is important to develop an awareness of what constitutes timely, productive action. Particularly, you need to know when you should ‘sit back’. It might seem like you are doing little, but this distance helps you to be clear about what you need to do and what might safely and fairly be avoided. The importance of promoting a professional image through the demonstration, among other things, of courtesy and kindness in your interactions and communications with others, cannot be underestimated. What do you think the future has in store for nursing and nursing research? I see nursing research as remaining strongly based in the work of higher degree students, partly due to the present difficulty of attracting funding because of a lack of value attached to nursing enquiry. If we are to address this undervaluing, researchers need to demonstrate, using discipline-specific research, the many ways that nursing research can improve costeffectiveness and show actual health benefits for patients and the community. NURSE RESEARCHER

Book reviews Handbook of Research-Based Practice in Early Education D Ray Reutzel Guilford Press 470pp | £50.99 ISBN: 9781462510184 THE CHALLENGES and opportunities of research translation and knowledge transfer are not confined to the health sciences and this book has much to offer those who work in education, policy, research and practice across many disciplines. Presented in an accessible format, this book enables the reader to reflect and draw on experience, underpinned by a solid, academic research base. Structured in four parts, the book first explores the role of policy, leadership and stakeholder influence in the early education field. The issues at stake are familiar to those of us in the related disciplines of health and social sciences. Safeguarding the vulnerable, defining and promoting professional development, standards for initial professional education, political influence and engagement. Part two goes on to explore the importance and basis of research-based design, the particulars of practitioner methods, the use of technology and social media, motivation and engagement with people and communities. This is not unfamiliar language, but reading through an educationalist perspective offers the opportunity to reflect with fresh eyes and gain new insights to old problems. So much of the language and discussion was familiar to me: the challenges of funding preventive programmes in times of fiscal constraint; defining and limiting eligibility for financial support; politicians and policy-makers grappling with the confusing and conflicting evidence presented to them in a fierce contest for scarce public resources; the need for accountability and robust evaluation in an increasingly marketplace public sector. The chapters have a structure that introduces ‘what the research says about’ the issue under discussion. The authors then take us through the translation and implementation

of evidence into practice, using vignettes to illustrate the issues. This is an accessible way to present the large breadth of practice-based research. The authors draw on theory and research from psychology, sociology, social anthropology and, yes, even healthcare practice, making this a relevant and engaging read. Simon Browes, advanced nurse practitioner, teaching & research associate, Trentside Medical Group, Nottingham

Understanding Research for Nursing Students Peter Ellis Sage/Learning Matters 168pp | £16.99 ISBN: 9871446267615

THIS BOOK builds on the first edition by incorporating new developments, reviews and readers’ feedback and describes recently published nursing research to illustrate how nursing research is continually developing and the need for nurses to keep updated. Each chapter is linked to the Nursing and Midwifery Council standards and the essential skills clusters for pre-registration nurse education. In addition, the activities are downloadable and can be accessed and added to at any time thus facilitating continuous professional development and promoting lifelong learning. The text is accompanied by access to a companion website with access to downloadable PowerPoint slides for the lecturer. These slides accompany each chapter and can serve as a handout for students. This is an action-orientated text, which seeks to raise awareness of uncertainty and encourages students to adopt a questioning approach to nursing practice thus normalising research as a core aspect of, and not an addition to, everyday practice. On the whole this is a highly readable basic text with international appeal. Paula Walls, nurse education consultant, Clinical Education Centre, Business Services Organisation, Antrim, Northern Ireland May 2015 | Volume 22 | Number 5 41

Downloaded from by ${individualUser.displayName} on Jan 31, 2016. For personal use only. No other uses without permission. Copyright © 2016 RCNi Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research must be relevant to real life.

JANE MILLS is Professor of Nursing at James Cook University, Australia and the director of its Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Research. She is an in...
131KB Sizes 2 Downloads 7 Views