1. Freda, Margaret Comerford EdD, RN, CHES, FAAN, EDITOR

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I spend a lot of my life reading manuscripts in maternal-child nursing. Luckily, however, every once in awhile, I have the opportunity to look at the fantastic work nurses are doing in other specialties as well. This was the case when I attended the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS) conference last fall. What an experience it was!! We all talk about evidence-based practice, and here was a conference with 500 research studies done by nurses. It was really 500 pieces of evidence that all of us need. Nurse researchers from every corner of the United States came to present their research, and all of it was aimed at improving health. The worst part for me was that I could only attend a limited number of presentations, because there weren't enough hours in the day or enough ways to split myself into pieces to hear it all. Happily I have the huge program book of abstracts, which I have been reading ever since. In the space I have here, I can only mention a few, but it was really impressive. For instance, in the area of depression, one study looked at how to help elders with silent suicide ideation, and another was how to identify post-traumatic stress syndrome in victims of domestic violence. In acute and chronic adult care, some of the studies included effects of backrest elevation on development of ventilator-associated pneumonia and family roles in end-of-life decisions. In community care, nurses presented on family care conferences among Native Americans and on how to recruit Mexican Americans into HIV risk-reduction programs. In cancer nursing, there were studies on a nurse-developed hereditary cancer risk-reduction program and on the prevalence of fatigue in patients on chemotherapy. It makes me realize how little of it I get to read in my normal life, because I generally restrict my reading to just a few specialties. This makes me want to remind you how important it is for you to make sure that you not only read in your specialty, but also that you take the time to occasionally read general journals such as the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Nursing Research, or Research in Nursing and Health, since they publish research on topics other than maternal-child health. It's important to stay current in your specialty, but there's a whole wide world of nursing out there about which we need to have at least a passing knowledge.


Of course there were wonderful studies in our specialties. I spent most of my time listening to them, and I was inspired. Nurses presented research on how to help families give care to chronically ill children, how to prevent HIV in Latino youth, better uses of pain scales for neonates, motor outcomes for NICU graduates over decades, fetal well-being in the second stage of labor with immediate versus delayed pushing, racial differences in HIV risk behaviors among adolescent girls, genetic polymorphisms and menopausal symptoms, effects of kangaroo care on breast milk production, children's responses to intimate partner violence, the healthy eating and activity together (HEAT) initiative and its effect on childhood obesity, and many, many more topics. The point of telling you all this is that I hope you know that nurses are doing important research-research that you will be using as evidence for your nursing care in the near future. You should be very proud of this work, but the only way you can be is if you've read it. I know that you read nursing journals, because you're reading this today. What about your colleagues? Do the nurses you work with read the nursing literature? If so, do they read it regularly? Do the staff nurses at your institution take the next step and discuss the nursing literature? That step is incredibly important. Only some nurses DO research, but all nurses should USE research. If nurses in your institution are not yet discussing the literature, then why not start an informal journal club? Even if you only meet a few times a year at first, it would be so beneficial. You could choose a good article or a good research study that discusses a topic your staff will be interested in. Everyone has to read that article, then come together for 30 minutes or so and discuss it. It's that simple. You don't have to understand every word of the methodology section to get something good from a research article. Just get started. There were 500 pieces of evidence presented at this one conference alone. Surely your group can discuss one or two nursing research studies before the end of this month!!