One significant event in nursing research which created greater awareness for the need of utilizing research in clinical practice was the establishment in 1986 of the National Center for Nursing Research by congressional mandate. A primary function of the Center for Nursing Research was promotion of research projects that related to patient care. In this period nurses began formal projects to help with research utilization in clinical practice to enhance patient outcomes. During this time factors outside of nursing helped shape nursing research also. A clinical learning strategy designed by McMaster Medical School in Canada called evidence-based medicine had a major effect on all health care professions and how physicians and nurses made clinical decisions. This learning strategy paved the way for nursing research to incorporate evidence-based practice into the daily clinical practices and enhance patient outcomes. Nursing research focused on improved patient-nurse relationships and improved patient outcomes, strategies that nurses could utilize at the bedside to enhance patient care. With use of this learning strategy nursing developed nursing strategies that were centered around nursing diagnosis and not on medical diagnosis to effect patient outcomes. Interventions that nursing could use that were nursing related and did not require a physician’s order to implement.
Today the National Center for Nursing Research continues to develop knowledge to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice, helps prevent disease, manages symptoms of illnesses and enhances end-of-life and palliative care. It continues to support and fund nursing research and publishes findings through professional journals that enable application of research and research results to be effectively incorporated into clinical practices. By utilizing the evidence-based research practices in the clinical settings nurses are able to improve patient outcomes.
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