UWG THS School of Nursing: Research and Community Engagement Priorities

Research Priorities

Our strategic plan calls for an environment which promotes scholarship, research and creative activities. The initial steps in this strategy include establishing a focused research agenda that builds on our current and emerging strengths and expanding the Center for Nursing Scholarship to improve the infrastructural support of faculty in all of their roles. These steps are critical to realizing our potential. The faculty and staff have identified research priorities in three areas that represent our current strengths as well as our future potential.

1. Caring

Caring is a fundamental and foundational attribute of the profession. The SON has deep roots in the philosophical aspects of caring as guiding all that we do. How to teach students so that caring is an essential part of their practice, how to help students understand what is meant by a “caring curriculum” and how to evaluate and measure the impact of a caring philosophy on the practice of graduates and patient care outcomes are a priority in our research programs. We have not been able to document that patient care is different when provided by nurses’ education in a caring curriculum versus those who have not.

Caring Science Research: Undertake studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the caring curriculum on select student outcomes. Explore student understanding of the meaning of a caring curriculum; design interventions to increase that understanding. Collaborate with FAU to refine instruments to evaluate outcomes associated with caring curricula.

2. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

The THS SON provides opportunities for learning in all formats: traditional, on-line, laboratory, simulation and clinical experiences. We utilize a wide array of pedagogies to prepare BSN, RN to BSN, MSN and EdD nursing students for the future of health care. Our RN to BSN and graduate programs strive for best practices in on-line education. Our simulation program in our BSN curriculum is recognized internationally.

Teaching and Learning Research: Evaluate teaching learning strategies on student outcomes such as the impact of simulation on clinical and NCLEX performance. Study the impact of best practice on-line methodologies on student satisfaction and other outcomes.

3. Improving Patient Outcomes

The ultimate purpose of both a caring philosophy and excellence in teaching and learning is to improve the lives of our patients. Our students at all levels must be prepared for the complex health care environment of tomorrow and know how to access and apply evidence to improve patient care.

Patient Outcomes Research: Identify the impact of nurse educators, CNLS and health systems leaders in improving patient outcomes. Identify clinical problems that can be addressed through evidence informed practice. Explore methods that help students access and process information and make decisions that improve care.

Engagement Priorities

Collaborative partnerships are critical to the education of nursing professionals. Universities have long held a unique position in society because of their three-pronged mission of research, teaching and service. True engagement between a School of Nursing and the community transcends the traditional definition of community to include a global and population focus. Relationships go beyond the typical activities of teaching, research and service to form partnerships, jointly defined. Our strategic plan identifies three areas for current and future efforts related to community and global engagement.

1) Expand students’ clinical experiences and understanding of the universal need for nursing care through strong, well developed service learning experiences and study abroad programs.

Nursing practice and nursing care are not bound by the four walls of a hospital, nursing happens everywhere. Strong service learning and study abroad programs provide opportunities for students to identify and meet the needs of populations, achieve learning outcomes and experience clinical practice in a wide variety of settings.

2) Develop ongoing mutually beneficial relationships with select specifically identified populations or communities.

Ongoing partnerships with a specified community population for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources will enhance students’ understanding of critical health care needs and societal issues.  Sustained relationships with communities will increase our relevancy by expanding the concept of service learning to include a redesigned approach to teaching, service and research to activities to become productively involved over time.  Participatory research and continuing community assessment/ interventions are part of this relationship.

3) Expand academic practice partnerships with all of the major health care facilities where our students have clinical experiences.

Academic practice partnerships between schools of nursing and health care facilities are being created throughout the United States in response to the increasing demands on the health care system to provide effective, accessible and affordable care. Fundamental to these partnerships is good communication to enhance clinical experiences, improve patient care and encourage nurses to attain higher levels of education.