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To develop a research agenda that will lead to a culture of ethical practice in diverse settings and that is evidence-based and measurable in terms of outcomes and pragmatic considerations.
This idea is embedded in the following foundational commitments:
- Clarity and focus on the research agenda
- Identification of likely champions
- Recognition of the need for a powerful coalition to identify and follow through on top research questions
- Commitment, diligence, and expansiveness of research ideas
The work group discussed systemic factors that need to shift in order for the bold idea to be achieved. These involve moving:
Action Plan Steps
Many of the actionable steps discussed by the work group could be accomplished within a relatively short timeframe. Several build on the activities planned in other summit domains (clinical practice, education, policy) and could have synergies with other existing initiatives.
- Survey the membership of professional organizations such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) on areas important for research in bioethics and nursing ethics, in response to release of the new ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses in 2015
- Develop an inter-disciplinary task force to refine and promulgate a research agenda focusing on key priority areas for bioethics and nursing ethics
- Secure “seed money” from specialty organizations for initial activities relevant to their members
- Support current and future National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding opportunities for inter-disciplinary bioethics research, including National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR)-funded research
- Survey academic medical center leaders to obtain input on potential research ideas and priorities
As a result of the information-gathering, validation, and awareness-generating activities of the summit and the research-specific specific actions noted above, requests for proposals could proceed that would carry out the research agenda. Several additional steps that would facilitate this activity would be to:
- Develop tools and metrics that enable ethics research projects to identify outcomes, including improvements in the quality of care, clinical outcomes, costs, and impacts on staff and the work environment
- Develop creative public-private funding strategies, to include government agencies, private foundations, and nursing specialty organizations to fund important research in bioethics and nursing ethics
- Propose and secure funding for a supplement on nursing ethics, to include the research agenda and need for it, in an interdisciplinary ethics journal
- These same tools and measures may be useful in research to evaluate the impact of an organization’s ethical environment on key measures of interest
- Meet with leaders of other appropriate NIH programs to explore joint interests
In addition, the nursing ethics research field would benefit from:
- An ongoing effort by nursing scholars to synthesize the research literature, identify gaps, and flag emerging areas of concern
- Development of a body of evidence showing how organizations’ ethical environments relate to quality of care and patient outcomes, work potentially useful to accreditation bodies like the Joint Commission and American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Accreditation program
- Encouraging doctoral student dissertations and capstone projects on nursing ethics and bioethics issues
- Creating a nursing research track or sessions at ethics conferences, perhaps with leading nursing organizations as primary sponsors; and conduct a nursing ethics research roundtable to discuss the research agenda at nursing conferences
We welcome your responses and ideas regarding improving nursing ethics research. Feel free to contribute to the discussion here.