Academic journal article Journal of Research Administration

Nursing Research: Understanding Nursing Innovations for the Transformation of Communities of Care

Academic journal article Journal of Research Administration

Nursing Research: Understanding Nursing Innovations for the Transformation of Communities of Care

Article excerpt


"I have an almost complete disregard of precedent, and a faith in the possibility of something better. It irritates me to be told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny of precedent. I go for anything new that might improve the past. "

... Clara Barton

The purpose of this article is to explain the phenomenology of nursing and nursing research, describe the history of nursing research, and consider the impact of recent and future nursing researchers in meeting the needs of society. Understanding the underlying paradigm of nursing research, its passion for discovery of new facts, and the power of nursing research to innovate and transform communities of care is essential to understanding nursing. The outcome of understanding the purpose and trajectory of nursing research is an appreciation of the legacy of nursing research and its many contributions to healthcare innovations that promote health and healing across all healthcare settings and amongst all people.

The term research derives from the Middle French term "recherche" which translates as "to go about seeking." (Merriam-Webster, 2012). One modern definition describes research as "systematic investigation in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions." (Polit & Beck, 2008). Researchers systematically and objectively attempt to provide answers to questions. The consequent knowledge transforms the world with new paradigms.

As research endeavors enter the second decade of the 21st century, the auspices of transformation take on entities contributing innovations for the betterment of humankind. Contemporary healthcare faces the challenge to transcend old models and build communities of care. (Kuhlmann & Annandale, 2012). This century is seeing a reshaping of the epistemologies of research; yet, the ability to communicate a clear understanding of nursing research to interdisciplinary research administrators remains ever challenging. (Egnew, 2009). Each nurse has both moral and ethical obligations to seek better possibilities for caring for society. Nursing research specifically seeks knowledge to reframe past health assumptions, thus altering the healthcare paradigm and enabling nurses to provide innovations to improve care, promote healing, decrease suffering, and expand communities of caring past inefficient precedents. (Harrowing, Mill, Spiers, Kulig, & Kipp, 2010).

Nursing is one of the disciplines contributing to the transformation of healthcare into communities of care. Yet, the transformation affects nursing research itself. (Watson, 2009). Comparatively, nursing research is relatively young, with the majority of peer-reviewed publications occurring over just the last 50 years. (National Institute of Nursing Research, 2003). One early definition stated that nursing research is the systematic investigation of patients and their health experience. (Burns & Grove, 2005). This definition does not seem to appreciate fully nursing research's rich legacy and the range of innovations and transformations resulting from this discipline. Today it is realized that nursing research has evolved from a simplistic "bedside" and single patient perspective to a complex and broad-ranging societal change agent. (International Council of Nurses, 1999).

The Phenomenology of Nursing

"I think one feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results."

... Florence Nightingale

The term phenomenology is a term originating from the Greek terms phainomenon "that which appears;" and logos "study," which combined means the study of the structure of a subjective experience and consciousness. (Moran, 2000). In its most basic form, phenomenology thus attempts to create conditions for the objective study of traditionally viewed subjective topics: consciousness and the content of conscious experiences including judgments, perceptions, and emotions. …

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