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Roles of Nurses Research

Roles of Nurses Research

The onset of the new millennium has brought with it a number of challenges to the nursing community, including shortages, high turnover rates, decreased number of nursing graduates entering the workforce, and increased job dissatisfaction. One solution to alleviating these issues is the implementation of cross-training nursing research programs at medical facilities. Cross-training in research allows nursing professionals to gain knowledge and experience in areas outside of their expertise. While challenges do exist to these types of programs, such as providing adequate training and overcoming the barriers of individual units to create cohesive communities of nurses, the benefits are worthwhile. Medical facilities with successful cross-training programs enjoy a reduction in costs due to external staffing agencies and overtime, while nurses themselves benefit through increased marketability, less stress, and professional development. However, perhaps ultimately it is the patient who benefits. Cross-training has successfully improved morale and reduced turnover rate at medical institutions, resulting in more satisfied nurses and improved care for patients.

Nursing education must also continue to value the contribution that research provides in universities and among the faculty. Regarding research in the area of nursing, many studies point out that on campuses today, there is a "crisis of purpose" for nurse research. The crisis of purpose is perpetuated by blurred missions, a compromise of standards and a drive to establish institutions according to "imperatives of prestige" and failing to meld teaching and research into a cohesive, quality program. The future of education in nursing needs to recognize that research is part of the learning process and teaching can become a fulfilling and appropriate forum for integrating research and theory.

Nursing is a knowledge-based practice profession. In other words, nurses use "thought, judgment, symbols, and intuition" to process information which is used as a basis for future work. It differs from manual-skill labor in that it does not involve repetitive tasks that require no information processing. In the United States as well as in many other countries in the world a nursing shortage exists. This shortage has become so profound that it has now reached the crisis stage. With so many career choices open to them, today's students are choosing those careers with higher starting salaries as well as a higher professional status. At the same time many nurses are reaching retirement age, nursing schools are experiencing serious downturns in new enrollments. Now, more so than ever before, nursing educators must achieve professional status as a means of retaining current nurses and encouraging others to join the profession. Only through maintaining a high level of educational development can nursing remain an attractive field for bright and talented prospects. Maintaining a challenging research and education program that integrates both thought-provoking theory with hands on research development is essential to being competitive in today's educational arena.

A number of national organizations exist that are strongly dedicated to the knowledge and skill development of nurses in the area of research. The American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National League for Nursing (NLN) are professional organizations that serve nurses in many ways, including program development, continuing education, skill-building, and policy promotion. In addition, these organizations are committed to promoting the profession of nursing as a formidable and rewarding career, so that a sufficient supply of nurses is available to staff healthcare facilities across the nation. The following discussion will evaluate the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing in greater detail, including their primary objectives and activities, and the benefits of membership in these types of organizations.

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