Research is a foundation of correctional nursing practice according to the ANA Scope and Standards for the specialty. Nurses must understand how to integrate research findings into practice and at a minimum, participate in research activities. In addition, the corrections environment can pose ethical situations requiring nurse actions to protect human subjects during research activities. The ANA Scope and Standards of Corrections Nursing Practice expect nurses to integrate research into their practice by participating in various research activities and using the best evidence to guide practice decisions. The Code of Ethics for Nurses also directs nurses to participate in advancing the profession through, among other things, contributions to knowledge development in the field.
Conducting and using research in practice can seem daunting to correctional nurses. Lack of resources is just one of many barriers to research utilization. However, correctional nurses can use research principles in many ways, such as evidence-based practice efforts, best practice evaluation and quality improvement projects. Correctional nursing practice can be refined and defined through a nursing research agenda. Clinical issues specific to the specialty practice can be investigated to expand the knowledge base and improve patient outcomes.
Essentials of Correctional Nursing provides extensive information on how to apply research to practice and use evidence to guide clinical change.
Photo Credit: © Gjermund Alsos – Fotolia.com