Building an Interdisciplinary Team for Nursing Research

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 11:10 AM

Kelly D. Allred, PhD
College of Nursing, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Michael A. Carney
Media Convergence Laboratory, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Purpose: This presentation will describe the success of an interdisciplinary research team tasked to develop a computer simulation to educate nurses on strategies to manage acute pain. This simulation was designed so that nurses could have interaction with patients in a simulated environment, without risk to human subjects, and receive immediate feedback about the pain management strategies they chose to implement.
Methods: The principal investigator (PI) is an expert in pain management and had an innovative idea to develop a computer-based simulation to educate nurses on how to optimally manage acute pain. Consultation with experts at the Institute for Simulation and Training was scheduled to explore the possibility and feasibility of the project. Professionals in design and simulation development were recruited to be part of the interdisciplinary team to write, design, produce, and test the program.  Regular meetings were scheduled and communication links via e-mail were maintained throughout the design and development of the program. All members were empowered to complete their assigned tasks, all of which were within their scope of expertise.
Results: All team members stayed on task, and the product was delivered on schedule. The computer simulation contained two patients placed in an acute care setting, one female and one male, both complaining of acute pain. The nurse within the simulation interacts with the patient and the participant makes choices based on what is seen in the interaction. Different choices produce different results within the scene.
Conclusion: Resource-rich university settings are ideal for the development of interdisciplinary teams to explore question and issues important to nursing. Funding agencies are frequently requiring collaboration with other disciplines. Thinking outside of the box involving disciplines within computer technology, art, and animation may assist the nurse researcher to creatively address both old and new questions of key import to nursing practice.