I love Nurse’s day as it is the one day of the year that we get to sit and reflect on what it is to be a nurse – and feel jolly proud of our profession.
This year I’m reflecting on the role of research within our profession. I have just completed a large evaluation exploring nurses’ thoughts on research, evidence, and innovation in community settings. I was blown away by the overwhelming enthusiasm to be part of change, to be involved, to give research a go. What really stuck with me though was just how difficult we make it for nurses to be involved.
Research, evidence, and innovation can sometimes seem like different worlds to everyday clinical practice, particularly in the community. Research has its own language, its own place for results and publication. Sadly, it often sits entirely separately from everyday clinical care, away from people and patients, behind the closed doors of research clinics. It has its own paperwork and forms (oh my goodness there’s a lot of them), its own approval process and its own culture – each one creating barriers that make it hard for nurses to be involved.
But research shouldn’t be this hard, it shouldn’t be this separate. Research is part of clinical practice - it is evidence-based practice, clinical decision making and accountability. It is making things better, thinking differently and making change. It is empowering, it is giving nurses a voice. At its core, it reflects the very practice of nursing.