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So What? An Invitation to Nurses To Tell Us How They’re Translating Research into Practice

June 17, 2011

By Inge B. Corless, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, and Brian Goodroad, DNP, RN, AACRN, nurse practitioner and associate professor at Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis–St. Paul, Minnesota

by centralasian/via Flickr

Crossing the Quality Chasm, an Institute of Medicine report from 2001, bemoans the chasm between our current research knowledge and the current state of care. Back in 2003, Don Berwick, now the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, provided the following pithy codification of the problem in a JAMA article called “Disseminating Innovations in Health Care” (subscription required; click here for the abstract): “Failing to use available science is costly and harmful; it leads to overuse of unhelpful care, underuse of effective care, and errors in execution.” Berwick pondered the slow pace of innovation adoption and attributed it to three factors:

  • the characteristics of the innovation
  • the characteristics of the potential adopters
  • contextual factors

Berwick also made this observation about innovations that do get adopted: “Health care is rich in evidence-based innovations, yet even when such innovations are implemented successfully in one location, they often disseminate slowly—if at all.”

Given these obstacles, what can be done to facilitate the integration of research findings into practice? What can be done to change this situation, and what would this entail?

One step is to share our knowledge and our successes in making changes, along with the obstacles to doing so. We invite nurses to identify research that has changed or somehow influenced their practice and to share their experiences with us for potential publication on this blog. We’re not asking for formal academic work here; what’s we’d like is simple, brief (one to five paragraphs) summary description in your own voice. Briefly describe the study and its findings, as you understand them—and then describe how the findings were integrated into practice and any outcomes (whether they were formally measured or anecdotally reported).

These summaries will not be peer-reviewed like AJN‘s print articles, but they will be open to reader comments, which authors can choose to respond to if they wish. We also invite nurse researchers to describe their studies and amplify the implications for practice, discussing what might facilitate integration into practice as well as potential obstacles. (Editor’s note: please send all submissions or inquiries to Inge Corless at this e-mail address: icorless@mghihp.edu. She will review submissions and pass those that seem appropriate along to us here at the blog.)

Nursing is responsible for advancing the state of the science and the integration of science into practice. Our goal in initiating this blog series is to speed the integration of important research findings into practice as well as help those findings already in limited practice to become more widely adopted.

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2 comments

  1. Thank you for your response. This blog is meant for clinicians and researchers to share their work- the former the research that changed their practice and the latter, the implications of their research for practice. The more we’re able to share, the more rapidly, the contributions that can enhance practice will be diffused through-out nursing. WE can make a difference! Inge Corless

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  2. [...] research to impact patient care, nursing satisfaction, or organizational processes. Until now. The American Journal of Nursing is calling for those stories. Think about what you and your colleagues are doing to implement nursing research, and be sure to [...]

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