Developing a Clinical Question with Nursing Clinicians in Cardiology

Wednesday, 1 August 2012: 3:30 PM

Mary Boyde, PhD, MEd, MN, BN
Cardiology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

Learning Objective 1: Engage in the research process and apply evidence based practice principles to clinical practice.

Learning Objective 2: Develop skills in writing clinical research questions that will result in the completion of a valid study

Background:  A heightened focus on evidence based practice requires nurses to be cognisant with the development of answerable clinical questions.  For clinicians one of the first steps in evidence based practice is the ability to ask a clinical question that can be answered with research evidence.

 Aim: To engage clinicians in the research process by building skills in developing a clinically relevant research question.

 Methods: In a large metropolitan hospital cardiology unit the process began with research knowledge development during in-service sessions. Focus groups of clinicians were initiated to brain storm clinical problems associated with their practice. Topics introduced to stimulate discussion included high volume patient care situations and most common DRGs, patient problems, common symptoms managed by nurses, frequent nursing interventions, important patient outcomes and commonly used technologies. Lists of topics generated were then compiled and refined to ten key issues. Following this further sessions guided the clinical question development for each of the 10 key topics.

Results: 10 clinically relevant questions were developed. Each question met the pre-determined criteria for a good research question – that is it was feasible, interesting, novel, ethical and relevant. By consensus across the nurses working in the cardiology unit one question was chosen and refined to be investigated for a research project:

Do cardiac patients modify their lifestyle and implement appropriate health care behaviours following admission to hospital after a cardiac event?

 Discussion: Clinically relevant research questions can be developed by clinicians. The process requires good team work, a structured approach and engagement with the research process. The challenge in developing a research question is ensuring good ideas are transformed into a feasible and relevant clinical question that will result in the completion of a valid study.