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Build up nursing research collaboration with a database


After reading this article, you will be able to:

  • Identify the benefits of a nursing research database

The research director at Cleveland Clinic has successfully guided staff nurses through research projects with the help of tools and templates stored on the organization’s intranet. And more help is on the way, as the intranet is becoming a research database.

“The database will be a warehouse for current research projects in motion, as well as completed projects,” says Nancy Albert, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, NE-BC, FAHA, FCCM, director of nursing research and innovation at Cleveland Clinic. “It will save time, prevent redundancy, increase knowledge, and promote collaboration among different units.”

Staff nurses at Cleveland Clinic will have the ability to log in to the hospital’s intranet and discover a new world of research with the database. The project, which Albert and other nursing leaders at the facility developed, is slated to go live this year.

Nursing research can bring many benefits to the healthcare setting, as it promotes nurses’ individual growth and encourages the implementation of new care delivery techniques.

“The research database will be a valuable tool in helping staff nurses share project ideas and, more importantly, literature findings, which is always time-consuming for nurses,” says Terri Murray, RN, BSN, nurse manager.

The user-friendly database will allow nurses to quickly find what they are looking for, says Albert. For example, if a nurse is interested in conducting a study on improving blood flow in the lower legs when patients are on bed rest, he or she will log in to the database in search of similar studies or literature findings. When nurses log in, they will find:

  • Project status. Each project will have its own link detailing several items, including the status of the proposal, the point person, a timeline of the data collection, the due date, and approval by the institutional review board.
  • Topics. These are organized in many ways, including by patient population, research area, and nursing department. “By having multiple ways to access other research conducted in the past on the same topic in an efficient manner, nurses can learn what others are doing in our institution and collaborate with experts on a topic,” Albert says. “They can determine if they wish to replicate a previously conducted study and possibly save time in proposal writing and research startup.”

For example, the staff nurse conducting the research study on improving patient blood flow in the lower legs can see whether another staff member conducted the same study. If so, the nurse will be able to view the final research manuscript and obtain the researcher’s contact information.

That information can enhance the chances for success in a new project, as the new researcher can contact the original researcher to see what literature he or she found, issues that were encountered during data collection, aspects of research that went smoothly, and other potential contacts.

Although proposals will be available in the database, they will not be downloadable without permission.

“Having data that is visible to all viewers of the database saves investigator time and keeps management informed of current studies and progress,” says Albert. “Data that is not so readily transparent allows us to maintain confidentiality of ongoing research studies and encourages collaboration among different investigator teams.”



Adapted from HCPro’s Advisor to the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®, February 2009, HCPro, Inc.