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Linking to Improve Nursing Care and Knowledge

Evaluation of an Initiative to Provide Research Support to Clinical Nurses

Cato, Kenrick D., PhD, RN, CPHIMS; Sun, Carolyn, PhD, RN, ANP-BC; Carter, Eileen J., PhD, RN; Liu, Jianfang, PhD, MAS, BE; Rivera, Reynaldo, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN; Larson, Elaine, PhD, RN, FAAN, CIC

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: January 2019 - Volume 49 - Issue 1 - p 48–54
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000707

OBJECTIVES The aim of this study is to describe and evaluate the impact of the Linking to Improve Nursing Care and Knowledge (LINK) project on increasing nurse-led clinical research.

BACKGROUND Nurse-generated research is the cornerstone of evidence-based practice and continues to be a marker of nursing excellence. However, the dearth of PhD-prepared nurses creates a challenge for creating an environment to promote clinical nursing research. We evaluated the LINK project, an academic-clinical partnership, to assess its impact and feasibility, for fostering nurse-led clinical research.

METHODS The LINK project created a formal command and control structure bringing together existing academic resources, including a PhD-prepared nurse researcher, a biostatistician, and a development of a formal research consultation request process. Measures tracked over a 12-month period included average response time, request volume, client satisfaction, institutional review board (IRB)–submitted protocols, and work products.

RESULTS All measures exceeded expectations with an average 1-day request response time, 35 requests, 98% client satisfaction, a 367% increase in nurse-led IRB approved protocols from the previous 12-month period, and 2 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

CONCLUSIONS The process and outcome measures indicate that the LINK project is feasible, sustainable, and reproducible. We were able to meet and, in many cases, exceed measurement goals. In addition, implementation science literature indicates that the most valid measure of a successful project rollout is user satisfaction and usefulness. The LINK project received consistently positive feedback.

Author Affiliations: Clinical Nurse Scientist (Drs Cato, Sun, and Carter), Director of Research and Innovation (Dr Rivera), NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; Assistant Professor (Dr Cato), Associate Research Scientist (Dr Sun), Assistant Professor of Nursing, CUMC (Drs Carter and Liu), Professor of Nursing Research (Dr Larson), Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, New York.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Cato, Columbia University School of Nursing, 560 West 168th, Room 611, New York, NY 10032 (

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