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What Will I Learn About Research in Nursing School?

Ongoing changes in technology and nursing policy make it imperative for nurses to know how to incorporate research into caregiving.

Nursing research is a systematic, scientific inquiry to answer specific questions or test hypotheses. All research involves analysis of collected data and concludes with interpreted results or outcomes. The two main types of studies are:

  • Quantitative studies – Research is based on hard facts generated by mathematical, computational and statistical methods.
  • Qualitative studies – An exploratory research method that uses observation and interpretation to gain an understanding of a problem.

What Is the Goal of Research in Nursing?

Research in nursing seeks to create new solutions to old problems or to validate existing knowledge and methods. Nurses can apply research insights to increase the rate of positive health outcomes, improve safety, address environmental issues that impact health, enhance patient- and family-centered care, and uphold the standards of practice.

How Does Nursing Research Help Patients and Communities?

Staying informed on the latest research enables patients — and the communities they are a part of — to take charge of their health. Research assists nurses with the following:

  • Developing cost-effective healthcare systems
  • Educating patients about illnesses and disabilities
  • Preventing health problems
  • Promoting well-being and healthy lifestyle choices
  • Providing care to patients over the lifespan
  • Meeting the needs of vulnerable populations through appropriate interventions
  • Teaching patients self-care and ways to manage health conditions

How Does Research in Nursing Aid Health Systems?

Research in nursing can benefit health systems in these ways:

  • Boosts access to care for vulnerable groups such as the elderly or homeless
  • Aids in developing cost-effective models for nursing care strategies
  • Helps identify social and environmental determinants of wellness in individuals, families and communities
  • Pinpoints phenomena that negatively influence recovery
  • Reduces the stress patients experience when undergoing surgical procedures, intrusive examinations or continuous monitoring

How Does Research Relate to Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)?

Evidence from research keeps nurses aware of the most up-to-date techniques. It also allows them to make informed patient-care decisions. For example, research shows that parents should place babies on their backs to sleep instead of on their stomachs to avoid choking and decrease the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Nurses who want to provide quality care that incorporates the needs and preferences of their patients can hone their research skills by earning a BSN. An online RN to BSN program introduces students to the role of research in nursing. Students also examine ethical principles and research methodologies with an emphasis on evaluating research studies and applying the findings.

Learn more about Eastern Illinois University’s online RN to BSN program.


NCBI: Nursing Research: Definitions and Directions

BMJ: Evidence-Based Nursing

American Journal of Nursing: Research in Nursing Practice

Elsevier: Yes, Nurses Do Research, and It’s Improving Patient Care

Wolters Kluwer Health: Exploring Evidence-Based Practice Research

American Nurse Today: Differentiating Research, Evidence-Based Practice, and Quality Improvement Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

SAGE Journals: Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice

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