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Clinical Nurse Specialist Roles in Conducting Research

Changes Over 3 Years

Albert, Nancy M. PhD, RN, CCNS, CHFN, CCRN, NE-BC, FAHA, FCCM, FAAN; Rice, Karen L. DNS, APRN, ACNS-BC, ANP; Waldo, Mary J. PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, CPHQ; Bena, James F. MS; Mayo, Ann M. RN, DNSc, CNS, FAAN; Morrison, Shannon L. MS; Westlake, Cheryl PhD, RN, ACNS-BC; Ellstrom, Kathleen PhD, RN, ACNS-BC; Powers, Jan PhD, RN, CCRN, CCNS, CNRN, FCCM; Foster, Jan PhD, APRN, CNS

doi: 10.1097/NUR.0000000000000236
Feature Article

Purpose: The aim of this study is to describe clinical nurse specialists' characteristics, interest, confidence, motivators, and barriers in conducting research.

Design: This study was a descriptive, multicohort design.

Methods: Clinical nurse specialists were recruited electronically through national and local organizations to complete anonymous surveys 3 times, over 3 years. Comparative analyses included χ2 and Kruskal-Wallis tests.

Results: Of 2052 responders (initial, n = 629; 18 months, n = 465; and 3 years, n = 958), mean (SD) participant age was 50.3 (9.3) years. Overall, 41.7% of participants were involved as principal or coinvestigators in research. Interest in conducting nursing research (on a 0–100 scale) was 61.1 (38.4) and was lowest among the 18-month time point participant group (score, 39.1 [32.2]) and highest at the 3-year time point (68.3, [30.7]; P < .001). Confidence in conducting research, discussion of statistics, and perceptions of motivators and barriers to conducting research did not differ across time period groups. Access to literature and mentors and research knowledge were the most prevalent barriers to conducting research.

Conclusions: Less than 42% of clinical nurse specialists conducted research and the rate did not change between different time groups. Access and knowledge barriers to conducting research were prominent. Workplace leaders need to consider resources and support of academic educational opportunities to increase research conduct by clinical nurse specialists.

Author Affiliations: Associate Chief Nursing Officer (Dr Albert), Office of Nursing Research and Innovation, Nursing Institute, Cleveland Clinic Health System, Ohio; Director (Dr Rice), The Center for Nursing Research, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, Louisiana; Regional Director Professional Practice (Dr Waldo), Quality & Research, Providence Health & Services, Oregon Region; Biostatistician (Mr Bena), Statistical Programmer (Ms Morrison), Quantitative Health Sciences, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio; Professor (Dr Mayo), Hahn School of Nursing & Health Science and the Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, University of San Diego, California; Professor (Dr Westlake), School of Nursing, Azusa Pacific University, Monrovia, California; Pulmonary Clinical Nurse Specialist, Director (Dr Ellstrom), Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, VA Loma Linda Healthcare System, California; Professional Nurse Researcher (Dr Powers), Parkview Health System, Fort Wayne, Indiana; and President (Dr Foster), Nursing Inquiry & Intervention, Inc, Woodlands, Texas.

Analyses of research data were internally funded by Cleveland Clinic, Ohio. The National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists provided administrative support for recruitment and data collection activities.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Nancy M. Albert, PhD, RN, CCNS, CHFN, CCRN, NE-BC, FAHA, FCCM, FAAN, Office of Nursing Research and Innovation, Nursing Institute, Cleveland Clinic Health System, 9500 Euclid Ave, Mail code J3-4, Cleveland OH 44195 (

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