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Energize Staff to Create a Research Agenda

Bethel, Susan A. MS, RN; Seitz, Sue MSN, RN, CNOR; Landreth, Cathie Osika MS, RN; Gibson, Lynette PhD, RN; Whitcomb, John J. PhD, RN, CCRN

doi: 10.1097/NUR.0b013e31825aeb80
Feature Article

There is a need to explore and align priorities for building the foundation for nursing research in any institution. The Delphi technique was chosen as means of setting priorities for nursing research. This method enlisted feedback from all levels of nurses from various practice areas and various nursing roles. A series of 3 rounds of surveys provided feedback. Mixed methods were utilized to reach consensus on the various themes/topics that emerged in each round. In the final survey round, nurses ranked the final themes as to the level of importance, which resulted in identification of the key top 5 priorities. The priorities are the foundation for a research agenda for the coming years. The nursing research council, led by the clinical nurse specialist chairperson, reviewed the results and generated a comprehensive review of literature for current evidence on each priority topic. Evidence was critiqued, rated, and resulted in research questions that formulated the research agenda. The priorities were integrated within the pillars of excellence that are the foundation of the institutions’ strategic goals. Using this technique provides a beneficial and structured way to gain input from those who need to own the work of building nursing research within an institution. Positive factors, such as beginning with input from all levels, the ease of providing feedback, and using a Delphi method study to bring alignment within an organization, serve to strengthen nursing research into a much broader scope and focus.

Author Affiliations: Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (Mss Bethel, Seitz, and Osika Landreth); Mary Black School of Nursing, University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg (Dr Gibson); School of Nursing, Clemson University (Dr Whitcomb), South Carolina.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Susan A. Bethel, MS, RN, Nursing Clinical Programs & Research, Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center, ISC Bldg, 3rd Floor; 525 Grove Rd, Greenville SC 29605 (

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.