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In Touch
A forum to discuss the latest news and ideas in nursing and healthcare.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
When you think about research, is your curiosity piqued in anticipation of discovering new knowledge, or does your mind flash back to suffering through a nursing research class that was less than enjoyable? Unfortunately, many nurses experience the latter and tune out research literature instead of tuning in. That’s troubling, because research is the foundation of evidence-based nursing practice and it serves to define us as a profession.
If nurses don’t read and evaluate whether or not research findings have relevance to their work, they run the risk of practicing in a way that’s either ineffective or possibly even deleterious to patient care. No one wants to waste valuable time and effort performing tasks that don’t contribute to desired outcomes. But how do we turn the tide so that nurses better appreciate and utilize information from research? Perhaps we need an altogether different educational approach.
I had the pleasure of listening to a keynote address by Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, at a nursing research conference held at my hospital.* Dr. Melnyk advocated that faculty in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs shift their strategy from teaching nurses the mechanics of conducting research to the proper application of research findings in nursing practice.
Dr. Melnyk differentiated that BSN, MSN, and DNP programs enable nursing graduates to evaluate the strength of evidence and to apply research findings, while PhD programs prepare students to conduct research. These are important distinctions when considering advanced education or, perhaps, a new career goal.
I recall having to design and conduct a full research study and produce a thesis to meet requirements for my MS in Nursing many years ago. For me, the experience was, in a word, onerous. Rather than feeling inspired to conduct more research studies, I simply felt relieved that I was finally done. That’s okay—though I greatly value the research process, I learned that my personal preference is research application.
To survive and thrive, we need a diverse talent pool of nurses who will enable our profession to confront the challenges we face, formally study the issues, and forge the best path forward guided by the strength of the evidence. Anything less, and we risk going back to healthcare’s dark ages.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014
With all of the holiday cheer around us at this time of year, it's often easy to forget that not everyone experiences joy at the holiday season. For many, images of happy families gathering together can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and depression. Holidays can also be a painful reminder to some of what once was, especially for those who have experienced a significant loss such as the death of a loved one. So this holiday season, remember to take a minute or two when seeing new patients to check out their mental well being, and if you see any signs of depression steer them toward mental health professionals who can help -- sometimes just a sympathetic ear may be all they need.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014
I just read an article this morning regarding a new report by the Health and Human Services Department (you can read it here). They state that hospitals are making fewer mistakes, from giving patients the wrong medications to giving them infections, and as a result, 50,000 people are alive today who otherwise would have died. Now this is great news! And I'm sure a big part of the effort has come from nurses in hospitals. What changes have you seen in your facility over the past few years that have led to more positive outcomes for your patients? Share them below!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014
This morning, the New York doctor who had contacted Ebola left the hospital Ebola-free. That means there are currently no active cases of Ebola in the United States. Are you still worried about the virus making its way back into the U.S.? What are you doing to stay prepared? Share your thoughts below!

Thursday, November 06, 2014
Last week, the CDC released a new video, Guidance for Donning and Doffing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) During Management of Patients with Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospitals. Have you watched it? I'm curious to know if the new guidelines are any different than what you're already doing in your facility. If they're different, do you think they're better? Share your thoughts below!

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About the Author

Linda Laskowski-Jones
Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, is editor-in-chief of Nursing and vice president of Emergency, Trauma, and Aeromedical Services at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Delaware.