What would Florence think?
Article Type: Editorial
Author: Weidenbaum, Allan
Pub Date: 03/22/2010
Publication: Name: Journal of the New York State Nurses Association Publisher: New York State Nurses Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 New York State Nurses Association ISSN: 0028-7644
Issue: Date: Spring-Summer, 2010 Source Volume: 41 Source Issue: 1
Accession Number: 242591403
Full Text: Would Florence Nightingale recognize the nurse of today? We expect nurses to care with their hearts and minds, identify actual or potential health problems, and develop research-based strategies to prevent, ameliorate, and comfort. We expect nurses to be empathic communicators who are also highly educated critical thinkers and who keep abreast of important findings.

It's been well documented that patients who receive research-based nursing care have better outcomes compared to those receiving "routine care" or care based on tradition (Melnyk et al., 2004). Yet, there is a cultural divide between researchers and practitioners, as well as research models that isolate knowledge from practice. In fact, even when scientific evidence supports standards for practice guidelines, there is a delay in actually putting these standards into practice (Valente, 2010).

In this issue, Christopher David Kowal demonstrates how the use of the Iowa Model of evidence-based practice facilitates practice change in a critical care unit. Nurses were questioning the effectiveness of a pain assessment tool, particularly in nonverbal, unresponsive patients. The article demonstrates how the successful implementation of the Iowa Model can facilitate a change in practice and support better patient outcomes. Although the care of critical care patients can be quite complex, the author presents the use of this model in the most basic way to yield significant clinical changes in pain management.

Traditionally, practice changes might not always be supported by evidence-based practice. Even today, research may not exist to fill specific gaps in knowledge. Doing the research also presents its own set of challenges, questions, and considerations. Susan W. Groth grapples with the question of using money as an incentive when patients are recruited for research. Financial remuneration may pose a quandary when the nurse takes on the role of research participant recruiter in addition to her already long job description. This article gives the nurse an opportunity to think about alternatives to financial incentives. As the author investigates this question, however, she doesn't ignore the positive outcomes of research participation. The benefits from health initiatives overall have been fueled by financial incentives, but monetary gain is not a primary motivator for an individual's participation in specific research.

In both articles presented here, the authors position the nurse as an advocate eager to find ways to support vulnerable populations for better patient outcomes. And so, exactly 100 years after Florence Nightingale's death, when we ask, "What would Florence think?" I wager Florence would be proud.

This issue also includes the second of our ongoing CE offerings, which will be included in all issues going forward and are valuable for all nurse readers. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity.

The Journal editorial review board is always looking for new manuscripts for consideration. The board will assist authors by providing suggestions to improve and strengthen manuscripts as necessary. We are also in search of new board members to review manuscripts and help shape the direction of Journal. For additional information and author guidelines, go to the publications area of www.nysna.org.

Allan Weidenbaum, PhD, RN


Melnyk, B. M., Fineout-Overholt, E., Feinstein, N. F., Li, H. Small, L., Willox, L., & Kraus, R. (2004). Nurses' perceived knowledge, beliefs, skills, and needs regarding evidence-based practice: Implications for accelerating the paradigm shift. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, /(3), 185-193.

Valente, S. M. (2010). Three practical approaches to evidence-based practice. Nursing Management, 41(3), 10-13.
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