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Are you a nurse? Why do you do what you do?

May 24, 2021

Nursing research has evolved in the past decades in an undeniable way. Most research methods often used in nursing come from other scientific areas (e.g., sociology, philosophy), but they have been used with concrete adequacy, rigor and innovation for the development of nursing knowledge.

When I start my lectures for master’s students on research methods, I can feel a subjective atmosphere such as “Oh no, research is boring”. I usually say that researchers are those who like the questions the most. And so, I ask the first question: “where are you from and what is the most frequent diagnosis in your setting”?. Most students (nurses) respond with medical diagnosis. In fact, I only use the word “diagnosis” with this purpose.  The second question is “why do you do what you do?”. At this moment, discussion about the sources of nursing knowledge and intervention is started and I learn a lot from all nurses/students. It is very interesting to get the number of interventions that they can list. Nurses do so much! How much nurses can do?!?

The third question is “why do you do all this?”.  At this stage, the objective is to lead nurses to think about nursing, focusing on patients’ human responses towards life and health transitions. And so, nursing diagnoses are put in the discussion. The last question is “and what available evidence do we have to inform our practice?”. From here, the course on “research methods” is open. We need to know the answer to  “why do we do what we do”. And if we are nurses, the rationale for that should be based on nursing research. Research is the best ally for nurses in the construction of professional identity and in the strengthening of scientific knowledge. So we can all know why we do what we do.

By: Silvia Caldeira, NANDA-I Research Director