What Happens When Nursing Undergrads Do Research?
LIZA FOXX I'm with UVA researchers. They have gotten together to study patients on dialysis, to test for things like cognitive function and depression. And they do that through a series of three surveys, which is what I'm here to do with you today if you accept.
I know, it is. It's very nerve-wracking. I definitely stuttered all the time when I first started. I used to tell myself that I'm not good at talking, but I've stopped telling myself that. And that I'm able to speak my mind with ease and grace.
BRESHNA HAIDER: It just made me feel more comfortable with talking to someone, rather than talking at them. And it really-- I just feel like it increased my bedside manner as well.
MAUREEN METZGER: I have found that when I have nursing students involved in research, I often have very high recruitment rates because they're willing to listen to what the students have to say. And I think it builds a student's confidence because they are using skills they already have. And they're getting really comfortable conversing with patients, explaining things to patients, collecting information from patients. And so, this just kind of takes it up a notch.
As you know, there's a critical shortage of nursing across the board, particularly in the area of nursing research. And so, I like to start thinking like get them young and get them to plant that seed about what research is all about.
ALLIE KIM: I actually don't think I had like a very great idea of what nursing research looked like. I was really interested in research, just because I felt like primary prevention is a really big way to really address a lot of issues that are within the community, and I feel like it's not looked at enough.
MEGHAN MATTOS: Nurses do great science, and they can do great science too. Sometimes it's hard to identify what it means to be a nurse researcher or a neuroscientist, and working one-on-one, meeting every week, seeing exactly what we do, getting a whole idea of the research project, as I said, thinking about it from start to finish, it's such a great opportunity for them, I hope, to be able to see what it's like.
MAUREEN METZGER: We train them how to approach patients. They get city certified. They meet with clinicians when we're explaining the study. They're learning how to do informed consent on patients. We train them in red cap, which is what we use to manage the data. And they learn how to do a chart review, and so, they extract information from the electronic health record.
MEGHAN MATTOS: Learning about literature reviews, moving to databases, how to put data in from Epic, data extraction from different sources, and then that last step of trying to make sense of it and disseminating.
ALLIE KIM: I got to meet some of the engineers that worked on the projects, and that's where I realized, wow, research really does work with all disciplines in ways that you didn't even imagine. There's a civil engineer on our research team and I thought that was really interesting. I could never imagine that both professions would be working together.
ZAHRA ALISA: Looking into someone else's research brings up questions in your own head, which could inspire like a different research project.
MAUREEN METZGER: This is how I got into the kind of nursing that I do. This is how I-- this is how and why I decided to go into academia. This is my research passion. This is why this is my research passion. And just kind of sharing your own journey a little bit, and then sort of helping them see that that can be possible for them too. If someone can't imagine it, then they can't become it.
BRESHNA HAIDER: When Dr. Metzger emailed me, I was like, are you sure? Am I right for this? I've never thought about it, like what do I even do? It was just a lot, but I'm definitely glad that I got out of my comfort zone and reached for it because it was very meaningful.
ALLIE KIM: It was very fun, and I think, I hope more people consider research in the future, nursing research specifically because I think it's a vastly growing field. And I think it's very important to not only take research done by physicians but also by nurses and work together with that.
EMILY WILLIAMS: I am very, very interested in research now. I just told my mom the other day. She just came up. I told her, "I'm going to do research when I'm older." [LAUGHS] So It's definitely changed my mind -- a lot.
From the Fall 2021 Virginia Nursing Legacy.