Research Literacy – Why Should Nurses Possess This Skill?

Healthcare is a rapidly evolving field, subject to numerous evidence-based research initiatives and innovations. Clinical care continually improves and innovates based on research-backed findings that encourage practitioners to adopt innovative practices. Nurses and other healthcare practitioners must develop research literacy to improve patient care quality with evidence-based practices.

Aside from embracing research innovations in healthcare environments, nurse researchers play instrumental roles in planning and managing clinical studies. Research literacy is a crucial skill that allows nurses to launch research-driven careers and make profoundly impactful contributions to their fields.

Keep reading to explore the significance of research literacy for nurse practitioners.

Leading Clinical Studies & Research Initiatives

Clinical studies aim to investigate the causation and clinical manifestations of diseases to design improved treatments that promote positive outcomes. These studies involve patients diagnosed with numerous illnesses to examine their symptoms, lifestyle factors, or test pharmaceutical drugs. Nurses play instrumental roles in designing and managing clinical research to ensure smooth collaboration between participants and researchers.

They’re responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the participants, alongside handling communications and ensuring transparency on guidelines. Nurse practitioners rely on their research literacy skills to lead insightful clinical investigations and prepare impactful reports. There’s a burgeoning demand for nurse researchers as NGOs, healthcare policy think-tanks, and pharmaceutical companies seek to advance clinical care practices.

Suppose you’re an aspiring researcher currently serving as a registered nurse or a BSN practitioner. In that case, you can specialize in nursing research and build a rewarding career in clinical research. Professionals are drawn to this career path given its professional esteem, leadership potential, meaningful contributions, and financial rewards. The average nurse researcher salary ranges between $65,000 to more than $100,000 annually.

There’s an enormous potential for financial stability and nursing leadership for professionals who prioritize continual learning and professional growth. For instance, adding a doctoral program under your belt will help secure lucrative employment opportunities in policymaking and clinical research. Nurse researchers with ample experience and research literacy enjoy a wealth of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards to elevate their life quality.

Finding New Treatments & Interventions

Research endeavors are focused on improving existing clinical care standards and processes to promote superior outcomes. The goal is to minimize the overall burden of diseases and risk factors on the global healthcare system. This goal is achieved by improving diagnostic measures, enhancing treatments, improving pharmaceutical interventions, and discovering risk-free surgical processes.

Nurses require an in-depth understanding of research processes, clinical terminologies, laboratory regulations, and investigative approaches relevant to their clinical specialty. This knowledge amounts to research literacy that equips nurses to lead and manage clinical and long-term observational studies. These studies contribute to clinical care and patient safety practices accepted by hospitals and healthcare facilities worldwide.

Suppose a clinical study is focused on identifying strategies to ensure early diagnoses for mesothelioma patients. In that case, nurses are responsible for ensuring patient safety, preparing clinical reports, investigating symptoms, and assisting their peers. The responsibility for patient safety and protection falls on experienced nurse practitioners with clinical specializations.

Collaborating with Multidisciplinary Teams

Nurse researchers have to collaborate and cooperate with their peers and researchers while working on clinical and observational studies. As part of a multidisciplinary research team, there’s enormous pressure to contribute valuable findings and insights. Nurses rely on their research literacy skills to serve as collaborative, facilitative, and intellectual team players capable of valuable contributions.

Nurses who lack research literacy cannot perform in the highly charged laboratory situations that demand maximum control over all variables under investigation. Working closely with researchers and highly qualified peers requires a well-equipped skillset and clinical prowess in the chosen specialty. Nurses who pursue doctoral programs enjoy numerous advantages and leadership roles in managing and organizing research studies.

DNP nurse leaders serve as mentors and nursing educators who advise researchers on clinical practices and research paradigms.

Implementing Research Findings in Healthcare Environments

Do all nurses rely on research literacy to perform their day-to-day responsibilities and ensure patient safety? Indeed, nurses are responsible for designing and monitoring treatment outcomes, using diagnostic tools, and administering medications. They need to develop research literacy to study and implement research findings to improve their practice.

Research has little significance in textbooks, for the entire purpose of clinical studies is to improve healthcare environments and practices. Without effective implementation, even the most groundbreaking research findings will offer no advantage to the medical community. Nurses are at the helm of implementing evidence-based patient care and safety practices to improve and innovate healthcare facilities.

They prepare healthcare teams to innovate and embrace research-based practices to improve diagnoses and treatment designs alongside eliminating medication errors. Nurse practitioners routinely attend research seminars and training programs to innovate their skillsets with newly emerging practices and skills.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re an aspiring nurse researcher or a cardiac nurse, research literacy is of the utmost significance. Understanding research findings and implementing them is the secret to harnessing and honing one’s skills as a nurse. Developing research literacy demands academic growth, higher education, advanced clinical training, nursing certifications, and mentorship.

Subscribing to an academic nursing journal is the first step towards developing research literacy. You can participate in collaborative and independent research initiatives during your bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. Make a habit of reading clinical studies relevant to your field to embrace their findings in your day-to-day patient interactions.

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