1. Garolis, Salomeja MSN, RN, CNS
  2. Halvorsen, Lisa PhD, RN, CS, CCRN
  3. Hays, Victoria MN, RN, CNS

Article Content


Nurse leaders at our tertiary care facility developed a strategic plan to advance nursing practice through the implementation of Chulay's unit-based research (UBR) program. In this model, bedside nurses are supported to ask questions about their practice and to conduct research studies as a method of improving patient care.



The critical elements of the UBR model include the following: (1) active nurse involvement, and ownership of the research projects; (2) group research projects, rather than individual projects; (3) a research mentor who guides the UBR teams through the research process; and (4) research projects that focus on important clinical practice issues.



Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) serve as research mentors for UBR teams in their area of clinical expertise. Using classical group facilitation skills, the CNS assists a group of unit nurses to identify common and important patient care issues or problems.



The mentors assist the UBR team to develop a research protocol, navigate IRB, complete data collection, analyze study data, and report their findings to internal and external audiences. Since most clinicians are not experienced researchers, the mentor's role is to accompany the UBR team on their research journey and to assure that ownership of the research project remains vested with the team.



Of critical importance is the ability of the CNS to adapt research methods used when conducting academic research projects so nurses employed in acute care are successful in completing research. Chulay's development of CNS knowledge and skills in guiding UBR teams on their research journey is a major focus of this UBR program. Eight units are involved in the UBR model. Four have received IRB approval for their protocols and are collecting data.



Nurses in UBR projects are (1) expanding communication, writing, and clinical inquiry skills; (2) increasing clinical knowledge; (3) taking responsibility for their practice; and (4) gain a high level of recognition for their research efforts.


Implications for Practice:

The UBR model can be adapted in any acute care setting with adequate research mentor support. One UBR project will be presented in detail.