September 25, 2009

New Web site highlights nursing research efforts

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New Web site highlights nursing research efforts

To meet the increasing demand for evidence-based nursing practice (EBP), a new Web site has launched to highlight nursing research and provide resources for incorporating evidence into daily practice.

“The whole idea is to encourage nurses to use evidence in practice,” said Nancy Wells, R.N., D.N.Sc., director of Nursing Research. “This is a one-stop-shop to get to the resources and see what is going on at Vanderbilt.”

The site can be accessed at or at under the “Professional Development” tab.

It is aimed at nurses, but Wells said others can benefit from the information, including therapists, dietitians and social workers.

The site has a “Search Tips & Links” tab, which provides resources for nurses who want to find their own evidence.

Nancy Wells, R.N., D.N.Sc.

Nancy Wells, R.N., D.N.Sc.

For those who want help with research, there is a tab called “Got a Question?” There, nurses can submit their question to the Evidence-Based Medicine Team, which will assist with searching the literature to find an answer. For more complex questions, the team will submit it to Eskind Biomedical Library. Within two to three weeks, the nurse will receive an overview of the available literature on that question.

“Our slogan is 'asking is the answer,' and our goal is to show nurses that they need to question their daily practice and find the best way to do it. The Web site will help nurses do that,” Wells said.

The Web site also highlights the research of nurses at Vanderbilt and has a monthly spotlight on an EBP issue. The first spotlight is on “elderspeak” and the emerging evidence that calling geriatric patients “sweetie” or “dear” may actually hinder their health.

“The other hot topics are pressure ulcers, falls and infections — the things that aren't reimbursed when they occur in the hospital. People all over the country are trying to figure out the best way to prevent these,” Wells said.

The Web site's development, which took 18 months to complete, was led by Wells and Karin League, R.N., manager of Holding, PACU and Radiology Recovery at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Troy Simpkins, program coordinator for Nursing Research, designed the site.

Wells said the Web site is still a work in progress, and the Nursing Research Committee is currently developing a model to show how research, continuous quality improvement and EBP fit together.

The ultimate goal, Wells said, is to make evidence-based practice routine and easy.

“When you think of nurses and what they are educated to do, research is not at the forefront. Finding the time and the resources can be challenging for staff,” she said.

“Our culture tells us that using evidence is just part of being a professional nurse. The Web site is a way to develop their confidence and knowledge about research.”