More nurses need to conduct more research because it will assist with making health care services in The Bahamas more effective, according to a senior nursing officer.
Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Nursing Services Advisor, Willamae Stuart told several nurses, who attended a one-day research summit, that research is critical to giving the best care possible for all patients.
“I’ve been to Trinidad, California and somewhere else in the United States and presented a paper on knowledge and change in behaviour related to HIV-infected females and I realised then that research was necessary to inform policy and education because if we don’t know the needs of the people that we are helping then we cant have effective treatment programmes,” she told the nurses.
“We have a proposal to develop a nursing research area with the Ministry of Health. We have done that. In addition to that this is our third year in having research committees in each institution. We are part of the research committees for the University of the West Indies and the Ministry of Health and the PHA. We have nurses that are going off to school and we are telling them to come back and assist us all with what they’re learning so things are happening in research but we need to do more.”
Mrs. Stuart said the objective now is to establish a national research committee.
“That will have to be done from the office of the nursing director,” she said.
“We have presented a proposal that was given to us in 2009. We are still waiting for action to happen at the ministry level but nevertheless we are going to push on in the PHA and become prestigious nurse researchers because we understand the importance. We have also had a number of successful presentations in Grand Bahama health services, so research is growing. In order for a nurse to do her work properly, she must be involved in research.”
She told the nurses – some of whom joined in from Grand Bahama via a video conference – that there must be strengthening, awareness and appreciation for the value of research in the delivery of nursing care, the advancement of the profession of nursing and nation building.
“One of the tools that the nurse uses is evidence,” Mrs. Stuart said.
“The evidence tells us why we have to take temperatures every four hours. Evidence tells us how to manage our patients and that’s all a part of research. We use research every day in our practice.”
The nurses also had several discussions during the summit, including challenges faced when dealing with non-communicable diseases, predictors of breast cancer screening practices in Bahamian women, a review of public service rules and regulations, improving documentation in clinical nursing practices among others.