Motivate your nurses to conduct research

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Finding ways to motivate staff nurses to conduct nursing research can be difficult. At the outset, the process of completing a project can seem daunting and overwhelming. Taking the first step is often the key to success.

Sometimes, something as simple as a post-it note can help.

“Staff nurses can write on post-it notes about ideas for research projects, and these notes can be posted on a staff bulletin board and then reviewed during staff meetings,” said Marquetta Flaugher, ARNP-BC, DSN, an advanced practice nurse at Bay Pines (FL) VA Healthcare System, during HCPro’s March 10 audio conference, “Build a Nursing Research Culture: Practical Strategies to Implement a Program and Engage Nurses.” “The post-it notes can question what resources may be needed to conduct a study, how much time it may require, what ethics are involved in the study, or other thoughts the staff nurses may have.”

During the audio conference, Flaugher shared an array of strategies—including the use of post-it notes—to encourage nurses to become involved in research.

“You need your nurses’ participation to have a successful research program,” said Flaugher.

Begin motivating staff nurses and creating a successful research program by empowering your nurses. Flaugher presented the following methods for getting started:

  • Tell nurses how to do a literature review or where to get a literature review.
  • Show nurses how to develop a proposal for institutional review board submission.
  • Assist nurses on ways to publish their research findings
  • Tie research into professional development expectations. For example, add research goals to their annual performance reviews or into a career advancement program such as a clinical ladder.
  • Let nurses know that the research work they do makes a difference in patient care.

Nurses enjoy being recognized and rewarded for the work and care they provide. Flaugher listed ways to recognize and motivate nurses without dipping into the budget:

  • Have nurses create motivational signs to keep peers enthusiastic about research
  • Provide designated parking spots for nurses who have completed a successful research project
  • Send thank-you cards and e-mails
  • Publish nursing praise in the hospital’s newsletter

“To achieve excellence, it requires a culture and a vision for nursing research,” said Flaugher. “And to motivate is to inspire.”

Editor’s note: For information on the audio conference, “Build a Nursing Research Culture: Practical Strategies to Implement a Program and Engage Nurses,” visit