1. Section Editor(s): Alexander, Mary MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN

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Times are indeed changing. The health care environment is becoming more complicated, and technology is advancing rapidly. More is expected of nurses than ever before. And the nursing world is moving from "We've always done it this way" toward research- and evidence-based practice.

Mary Alexander, MA, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowMary Alexander, MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN INS Chief Executive Officer

The Institute of Medicine has predicted that by the year 2020, "90% of clinical decisions will be supported by accurate, timely, and up-to-date clinical information, and will reflect the best available evidence."1(pix) It's nearly 2012-so if you aren't yet working toward this goal, it's time to get started.


Infusion nurses are, as we know, on the front lines of patient care. Our knowledge and skills are in constant demand, and while we're fulfilling our patients' needs, we're also busy mastering models for infection prevention (eg, checklists and central catheter bundles) in response to nonreimbursement rules promulgated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Our responsibilities can often seem overwhelming, but sometimes we need to step back and remember that we do this for our patients. We must keep this in mind as we're called on to gather evidence, participate in research studies, and use the results in our practice.


What do we mean by evidence-based practice? Briefly, the Institute of Medicine says it is "the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values."2(p147) Nurses make clinical decisions using the best research evidence available, following organizational policies and procedures and integrating patient preferences into their plan of care.


INS highlights the importance of evidence-based practice for infusion nurses by asserting in our mission statement that we are committed to "advancing the specialty through evidence-based practice and research."3 As an organization, we have published resources and initiated several programs to support that objective.


In 2009, INS partnered with Wayne State University College of Nursing to conduct a study to establish research priorities for the Society. Our survey identified 4 themes, all related to patient safety.4 We will be following up this initial survey to collect additional information, which will help us refine the priorities to guide the direction for upcoming research and direct INS' resources toward translating research into practice.


In the 2011 edition of the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, all practice criteria were supported by the latest research available at the time the document was being written. In addition, the strength of the body of evidence was ranked by a system that identified the level of evidence and research that supported each of the criteria. Rankings ranged from level I, which included meta-analyses, systematic literature reviews, and guidelines based on randomized controlled trials, to level V, which included clinical articles, consensus reports, and generally accepted practices.5


We were very pleased to announce this past summer that Smiths Medical sponsored the new INS Infusion Nursing Research Grant, created to further infusion nursing knowledge and evidence-based practice. Funds were made available for qualitative and quantitative research. INS member-applicants submitted proposals on the topics of improving medication safety, outcomes related to practice, and clinical education through nursing research. One award of $10 000 will be given to the INS member whose research proposal is selected. In addition, remember that INS annually offers research grants through the Gardner Foundation. INS members are eligible, and applications for the 2012 grant will be in the mail and posted on the INS Web site ( early in the new year.


So when you're ready to move forward, how do you get started? You've already begun-by reading this journal. As you continue, note how the research articles are presented. In addition, you might want to read (or reread) the 3 Journal of Infusion Nursing articles on research featured in the May/June 2011 issue.6-8 They address grant writing, evidence-based practice, and developing an effective quantitative research proposal. Seek out an experienced researcher at your facility and think about how you might present your own research. Consider starting small-submit a poster or abstract for our Annual Convention or another professional meeting. Your research can become the foundation for a manuscript submission to this journal or another scholarly publication. Not only will your research complement INS' mission, but you'll also be contributing to the science that supports our specialty!


The author of this article has no conflicts of interest to disclose.




1. Institute of Medicine. The Learning Healthcare System: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2007. [Context Link]


2. Institute of Medicine. Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2001. [Context Link]


3. Infusion Nurses Society Web site. Mission statement. Accessed August 15, 2011. [Context Link]


4. Zugcic M, Davis JE, Gorski LA, Alexander M. Establishing research priorities for the infusion nurses society. J Infus Nurs. 2010;33(3):176-182. [Context Link]


5. Infusion Nurses Society. Infusion nursing standards of practice. J Infus Nurs. 2011;34(1S):S5. [Context Link]


6. Berger A, Moore T. Effective grant writing. J Infus Nurs. 2011;34(3):167-171. [Context Link]


7. Mensik JS. Understanding research and evidence-based practice: from knowledge generation to translation. J Infus Nurs. 2011;34(3):174-178.


8. Merrill KC. Developing an effective quantitative research proposal. J Infus Nurs. 2011;34(3):181-186. [Context Link]