Careers and Career Opportunities in Nursing Research

Afza.Malik GDA

Nursing Research as Careers and Career Opportunities

   Careers and Career Opportunities in Nursing Research

 Research Careers,Research As Nursing Career,Requirements for Nursing Research,Journey to Research Career,Challenges for Nurse Researcher,Research as Profession,Financial Support For Research,History of Research as Career,Future of Nursing Research.

Research Careers

    Research expands the body of knowledge of a discipline and profession. To ensure that students have an opportunity to learn about the importance of nursing research to the profession, the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission currently mandates that baccalaureate nursing programs teach nursing research methods and incorporate the utilization and evaluation of nursing research into their curricula . 

    For baccalaureate nursing graduates, the expectations are to evaluate and utilize research in their practice. The expectation of master's program graduates is to participate in nursing research and to facilitate research utilization; the expectation of doctorally prepared graduates is that they conduct and disseminate their research. 

    Every nurse has a professional obligation to use research findings to inform his or her practice. Some nurses choose a career in which the conduct of research is one expectation, and others, nurse researchers, choose a career in which the primary expectation is the conduct of research, including the facilitation of research by others.

Research As Nursing Career

    As a result of their educational and practice experiences, nurses may decide to pursue research careers in a broad continuum of clinical and/or practice areas. Research careers in nursing, as in other disciplines, follow a developmental course, from novice to experience to senior researcher, with each stage posing different demands and expectations and offering different satisfactions.

Requirements for Nursing Research

The educational preparation for a nursing research career is an earned doctorate with specialized courses in statistics and research methodology. Generally, a nurse formally begins his or her research career with doctoral work. With the doctoral committee members, a research area of interest, a research problem, and senior research advisors are identified. 

    In doctoral work the student has the opportunity to be actively involved in each step of the research process, to develop research skills, and to be formally socialized and mentored in the research environment.

Journey to Research Career

    Nurses at this beginning stage of a research career are intimately involved in building a sound foundation in research design, completing data collection and analysis, and starting to develop a scholarly identity through publication. 

    The demands at this stage of a research career revolve around obtaining initial funding, prioritizing time for completing the research data collection and analysis, and working with peers to develop a network of research colleagues. 

    The satisfaction of the novice researcher is in making a contribution to the body of knowledge in a specific area, acquiring a scholarly identity, and presenting and publishing the results of research studies that build the scientific base. 

    Experienced nurses with evolving nursing research careers are challenged to maintain continued funding, serve as role models for students and other nurses, further develop their research trajectory, and extend their research network.     

    Nurses at this level of their research careers find satisfaction in their growing reputation as researchers, the ability to extend their study to addressing new questions, and working with colleagues on multisite studies.

Challenges for Nurse Researcher

    The challenges facing the senior researchers are to continue and extend their own scholarly research, with interdisciplinary colleagues as appropriate, finding funding sources to support large studies and mentoring novice researchers and students. 

    Senior researchers find career satisfaction in serving as consultants to other nurse researchers and interdisciplinary research teams, mentoring novice researchers, developing as nursing scholars, and making significant contributions to the body of nursing knowledge.

Research as Profession

    For the nursing profession to remain viable in a changing world, the continuous development of nurse researchers is necessary. To promote this development, the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), the institute for nursing research within the National Institutes of Health, has funded core centers for research at universities across the nation. 

    Examples of those funded are University of Pittsburgh, University of California at San Francisco, University of North Carolina, University of Iowa, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Washington. The specific areas of research identified for each university center are chronic disorders, symptom management, chronic illness in vulnerable people, gerontological nursing interventions, advancing care in serious illness, and women's health, respectively.

    These core centers support the creation of interdisciplinary collaborative nursing research programs in specific areas of basic and/ or clinical nursing research and offer opportunities for nurses to consult with nursing experts in these areas, train with mentors, and develop professional networks with other interdisciplinary researchers. 

    Other schools of nursing have research centers (funded through other sources), and these also provide the infrastructure necessary to support the research careers of faculty.

Financial Support For Research

    Financial support for individuals seeking a research career is also available from NINR. There are funding mechanisms to support nurses at various stages of research careers. Development: 

(a) predoctoral fellowships for researchers beginning their research careers

(b) postdoctoral fellowships for nurses who want to expand the knowledge gained in their doctoral study

(c) senior fellowships for investigators who have already been successful in a research arena and want to acquire new research capabilities or pursue new directions of research. 

    For information about this funding source, contact National Institute for Nursing Research, 31 Center Drive, MSC 2178 Building 31, Bethesda MD 20892-2178. Professional nursing organizations are additional sources of research funding. 

    Examples of these funding sources include Sigma Theta Tau International, Oncology Nursing Foundation, and American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

History of Research as Career

    Research career development in nursing historically was confined to faculty in a university setting. With recent changes in the health care delivery systems, opportunities for research careers in industry, at clinical centers, and in outpatient care facilities are increasing. 

    Hospitals and integrated systems of health care delivery are increasingly employing nurse researchers to study practice improvements, care quality, and health outcomes. Nurse researchers also assist in the development of the informatics systems used in these settings to support studies of comparison of practices, outcomes, and the benchmarking efforts required. 

    A research career offers nurses the opportunity to engage in a lifelong process of building a research program that attempts to find answers to the questions that are central to the discipline and professional practice. To pursue this career path requires a strong educational foundation, mentoring in the research environment, and available funding. 

    Research centers established by the NINR and other sources serve as resources for beginning, experienced, and seasoned nurse researchers to extend their research trajectories.

Future of Nursing Research

    The future holds many opportunities for nursing research careers in integrated health systems, industry, and academe.

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