Changing the Culture of Undergraduate Nursing Research

Wednesday, 1 August 2012: 4:00 PM

Carole A. McKenzie, PhD, CNM
Nursing Division, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Alva, OK

Teaching undergraduate nursing research is often an intimidating task when students have difficulty with content as well as the appreciation of the importance of research and the use of evidence when providing clinical care.  In a university setting, changing the culture to accept evidence and research when they have not always been highly regarded requires unique and innovative approaches. In addition, the teaching and utilization of complementary therapies in a conservative environment provides similar challenges.

When the nursing curriculum was revised at a small midwestern BSN program, complementary therapies were introduced as a curricular thread.  One of the therapies chosen to be taught was Bio-Touch, a non-invasive butterfly light touch therapy that requires no equpment and is extremely easy to teach to patients, families, students, and faculty.  In strategizing ways to also revise and update an undergraduate nursing research course to reflect the use of evidence based practice and to imbue students with a passion for the importance of research in nursing practice, faculty elected to develop a research project in conjunction with the Bio-Touch training and to have students participate in the research as part of this training and their research course. 

The results have been nothing short of fantastic, with students not only actively participating in research and enjoying it, but utliizing the strategies, presenting the research and interested in doing many more projects. The outcomes of students in the course have indicated significant improvement in their knowledge of the research process, the use of evidence based practice and the integration of evidence and complementary therapy into their clinical practice.