1. Section Editor(s): Rust, Jo Ellen MSN, RN, Column Editor

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NAME: Janice M. Buelow, PhD, RN

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CURRENT POSITION: Associate Professor


CURRENT AFFILIATION(S): Indiana University School of Nursing






Dr Janice M. Buelow was awarded the 2009 CNS Researcher of the Year at the 2010 Annual Conference of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists held this past March in Portland, Oregon. Dr Buelow's program of research has positioned her as a leader in the field of epilepsy research. She has conducted 6 funded research studies that have targeted both patients and families. She heads one of the few research teams in the country that is examining and testing a parent-centered intervention (problem-solving skills) for parents of children with normal to borderline IQs and epilepsy. Dr Buelow was the first researcher in the United States to conduct a study on epilepsy monitoring room/unit safety. Currently she is completing a Delphi study to develop safety standards for these units. She has contributed to advancing nursing science and has been recognized by other respected nursing organizations such as Sigma Theta Tau, the Midwest Nursing Research Society, and Indiana University. She is a volunteer grant writer for the Epilepsy Foundation to raise funds for support of local educational and outreach efforts for the underserved in Indianapolis and Chicago. A recognized expert, she works with school systems as an advocate for special needs children and their families. In addition to her research activities, Dr Buelow mentors practicing clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) and staff nurses at Indiana University Hospital, Clarian Health, through the Clinical Research Collaboration Program.


How has your CNS role prepared you for or contributed to your research agenda?

I worked for 12 years as a CNS working with a group of physicians in Chicago. Although my role was varied, I found that what patients needed was an understanding of how to live with this chronic disorder. I spent my years helping individual patients find ways to manage their epilepsy and the situations created by it. I also worked with agencies to improve overall care for persons with epilepsy. In that role, I developed an understanding of the impact of epilepsy on patients and began to ask questions about how they might best manage the disorder. I also began to appreciate the important role that a CNS can play regarding self/family management of a chronic disorder. This has informed my current program of research.


What do you see as the most significant areas of research now and in the future for the nursing care of patients within your area of specialization?

Nurses need to practice based on the best evidence. This is difficult especially in areas where there is little or no evidence. Whatever the specialty, identifying or creating best evidence is critical to good nursing care. In my case, I really believe that as a CNS, I have a responsibility to make sure that I help patients develop the best management strategies. I cannot do that without first understanding the best ways to help patients develop behaviors that will promote their wellness. When I say that I mean that as a CNS, I must help patients fit these strategies into a way of life and help them build a system that will support their strategies. This is what I am researching.


What strategies would you propose to CNSs to help them incorporate actual research in their usually already busy schedules or practice?

At the very least, as professionals, we need to read appropriate literature on a weekly (at least) basis to know what researchers and others are doing regarding our patient population of interest. However, CNSs can take this a step farther, and conduct reviews and be active in the process of research. Although this task may seem daunting, it is doable especially if teams are built that include nurses, CNSs, and researchers.


You have authored many articles in your specialty; what practical tips on writing for publication would you share with CNSs?

First, of course, is to have a plan and an outline of what the author wants to say. Second, I always tell my students not to wait for the perfect sentence to come to them, but instead to just begin to put ideas on paper and then revise. Although this helps to get ideas on paper, it is important to remember that what is clear to the author may not be clear to the reader. I recommend having many people read the manuscript before submitting and then listen carefully to the critiques. Although I have written articles on my own, it is so much easier to write with others so I encourage that as well. Finally, be persistent, and don't be defensive when others (including reviewers) give feedback. It is always a learning experience to write so sit back and enjoy the ride.


What has it meant to you to receive this award both personally and professionally?

There are so many wonderful researchers out there that I feel honored to have received such a prestigious award. I want to say that if this award brings light to any of the problems of persons with epilepsy then I will be grateful. My research can never be about me or my own advancement but instead about the people with whom I am fortunate to work. So the award is really for all persons with epilepsy and especially those who have helped me in my research. I have learned so much from them.