Creating a Scholarship Team: DNP and PhD Fostering an Appreciation for Nursing Research

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Paula Bylaska-Davies, PhD
Kimberly Silver Dunker, DNP
Department of Nursing, Worcester State University, Worcester, MA, USA

Nursing research is an essential component of baccalaureate nursing education and undergraduate nursing faculty are often challenged with encouraging an appreciation for nursing research by students. Nursing research is included in the curriculum along with demanding clinical nursing courses. The students primary focus is directed toward clinical nursing courses, thus nursing research becomes secondary. Nursing research builds the foundation for scholarly work that includes the elements of nursing research as well as their role in evidence base practice in nursing practice. An understanding of the importance of nursing research must be fostered by faculty.

The focusing on clinical reasoning, task oriented skills, and time management are implemented during clinical practicum. Most students concentrate on transitioning into nursing as they practice utilizing skills, and incorporating nursing judgment into their practice. As novices, it is frequently difficult for students to understand the role of the nurse will eventually include nursing research and evidence based practice. Research integrated into nursing curricula aid the student in the process of utilizing up to date knowledge and evidence to enhance the delivery of nursing care (Brooke, Hvalic-Touzery & Skela-Savic, 2015). The value of nursing research has been recognized by many associated with nursing education and practice (Roll et al., 2013; Walden, Cephus, Gordon & Hagan, 2015); yet the limited perceptions of the nursing students regarding the importance of scholarship creates difficulty in engaging students in nursing research.

Two faculty members teamed up to teach an undergraduate nursing research course. Each faculty member conveyed a different perspective of nursing research to the students. A PhD prepared professor of nursing and was known for her qualitative work; the other faculty a DNP prepared nurse d was known for her quantitative work. Collectively the two nursing professors discovered their passion for their disparate approaches to nursing research was a gift brought forward to the classroom of students. Throughout the semester, each faculty member was able to present concepts, give examples and engage the students during class. Because their perspectives on research was diverse it created a positive learning environment for the nursing students.

The academic preparation for the PhD researcher and DNP prepared nurse are unique in many aspects. Both terminal degrees equip the professor to take on the role of educator in an undergraduate research course. Both scholarly preparations, although unique, provide undergraduate nursing students roles model for conducting nursing research. During this semester the collaboration between the PhD and the DNP professor created a synergistic energy which assisted in the transformation of the student’s attitudes and perceptions of nursing research. The professors shared their expertise in their preferred method of study, qualitative and quantitative research, with future scholars.

Baccalaureate nursing students undertake nursing research during a demanding curriculum. The challenge of the intensive workload and valuing nursing research by the student can be overcome by inventive and enthusiastic nursing faculty. Faculty members working collaboratively to engage students, role model their strengths, and work in concert to foster an appreciation of research by students have a positive impact on student outcomes. Students, as future scholars, discover the application of scientific knowledge for evidence-based nursing practice.