Consortium Research In Nursing

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Collaborative or Consortium Research

Consortium Research In Nursing

Consortium Nursing Research,Purposes Of Consortium Research,Medical Treatment Research and Public Health.

Consortium Nursing Research

    Consortium research is a form of collaborative research that can be used to increase the quantity and quality of nursing research within clinical settings. It involves cooperative efforts among researchers at several institutions. 

    The sites have formal, well-defined administrative and working relationships that spell out agreed-upon roles and responsibilities.

Purposes Of Consortium Research

    Consortium studies are done for a number of reasons: 

(a) to achieve the required sample size when studying a low-prevalence disease

(b) to increase the ethnic diversity or other characteristics of a sample, thus increasing generalization of results

(c) to shorten the time line for conducting the study by simultaneously recruiting subjects at multiple sites

(d) to provide mentoring to more junior researchers and staff nurses

(e) to share resources, tasks, and costs when external funding is not available

(f) to increase opportunities for replication and dissemination.

     Consortium studies may be conceived by one or a few investigators who draft the initial proposal then recruit colleagues at other sites to participate in the study. These other investigators may be involved in helping to refine the proposal before it is submitted for funding. 

    When the purpose of the consortium is more focused on mentoring junior colleagues or is a way to share resources and costs, it is more likely that development of the proposal will be a group endeavor from the start. 

    In the latter case, the choice of topic may be generated by an advisory or steering committee, whichever approach is taken, the pool of ideas generated by expertise from several institutions creates synergy that leads to more creative and productive research.

     To conduct these multisite studies, one site usually serves a coordinating function for the study. 

    Most often in externally funded studies, the coordinating center is responsible for identifying or developing questionnaires or other data collection forms, for data collection and processing procedures, and for receiving and centrally analyzing the study data. 

    The oversight role of the coordinating center includes development and implementation of a quality control plan to assure standardization of sample identification, recruitment, and data collection procedures. 

    Scientific issues for the conduct of the study are usually managed by a steering committee, often composed of the principal investigator from each participating site and a few key individuals at the coordinating center. 

    Standing or ad hoc subcommittees of the steering committee are often formed to propose standards and oversee the work on specific aspects of the study. 

    For example, the subcommittees bring proposals for publications and presentations, participant safety and end-points, or clinical aspects before the steering committee for approval. 

    The degree to which the steering committee is involved in the development of protocols, questionnaires, and so forth, as opposed to approving those developed by the coordinating center, varies by study and the reason the consortium was created.

    In a consortium formed primarily for the purpose of sharing resources, mentoring junior researchers, replicating a previous study, or disseminating results, the steering committee may be composed of representatives appointed by each participating institution. 

    In such cases the steering committee often serves the purpose of setting priorities for the activities of the consortium. Funding of studies conducted by a consortium may take several forms. When external funding is involved, the two most common types are:

(a) providing one large grant to a coordinating center, which then subcontracts with each clinical site.

(b) providing individual grants to each participating institution with a separate grant to the coordinating center. 

    The first approach gives the coordinating center budgetary leverage when a site is not performing up to par. This is an advantage for involving a new site or increasing the number of subjects enrolled at existing sites by redistributing funds from the nonperforming site. 

    The second approach requires that each site meet the commitments for the good of the overall study. A third model, used when external funding is not available, shares the cost of the research among participating institutions within the consortium.

Medical Treatment Research and Public Health

    In medical treatment research and public health prevention research, consortium arrangements have been a preferred structure for large randomized trials that must recruit substantial population.

    In a relatively short time, provide intervention, and have sufficient follow-up time to generate adequate statistical power to compare the effects of treatment on the study outcomes. 

    Nursing has generally had less experience with this approach, although consortia of schools of nursing with several practice settings have been formed to facilitate the conduct of collaborative clinical nursing research ( Rizzuto & Mitchell, 1988a , 1988b , 1990; Schutzenofer & Potter, 1989 ; Zalar , Wels, & Walker, 1985).

    It may be expected that consortium research will increase as nursing researchers do more experimental research. Another factor that may promote consortium research in nursing is the changing health care system. 

    As health care systems increase the number of contractual arrangements in attempts to provide cost-effective, integrated care across the continuum of patient needs, consortium research is likely to become more common.

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