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Nursing research needs to be more 'scientific'

Nursing research needs to be more scientific if it is to help nurses change practice and improve patient outcomes, according to one of the country’s leading nurse academics.

Anne-Marie Rafferty, dean of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College London, said: “Nurses need to have command of their subject to be able to challenge practice and the only way to do this is with a solid knowledge base.”

Professor Rafferty, who is a member of the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery, also called for more investment in nursing research.

“There is a greater volume of data in medical research because there is a greater wealth of investment compared to nursing research. Investment in nursing research needs to be hugely up-scaled,” she told Nursing Times during an event at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital last week to celebrate the centenary year of the death of Florence Nightingale.

Professor Rafferty also said that the medical and nursing professions should coordinate their research work more closely. “We should not think of nursing and medicine as being separate when it comes to research or having competing constituencies,” she said.

Readers' comments (5)

  • I'm interested in what you mean by 'scientific'?

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  • You need to define the term scientific and what you mean by it otherwise it is meaningless

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  • I agree we do need more nursing research and I think what is meant by 'scientific' is more robust ways of measuring what we do as nurses and what is specific to nursing practice. Our time has come to prove what nurses do best or we will be replaced by non qualified staff who are able to provide care but do not know why they are doing it or if it is effective.

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  • Whilst having the greatest respect for an academic such as Professor Rafferty, I think the hallowed halls of academia need to get real, and realise that medicine and nursing will NEVER work together in research. However I do agree that if we are not careful the government of the day (whichever) will gladly extol the virtues of having non-qualified and cheaper staff to carry out as many 'extended roles' as they can get away with. Its not about expertise its about MONEY

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  • comment 27 January 2010

    Its not what you think 'scientific' means. The meaning needs to be precisely defined in the above article so that it is clear what the author means by it. Everyone can interpret their own meaning of the word but it in this case it is the author's meaning that is important otherwise the statement Nursing research needs to be more 'scientific' and the article are totally meaningless.

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