Next-Level Nursing

Program aims to connect nurses with research funds

Next-Level Nursing

By Kyle Chambers

From developing new ways to communicate with patients to testing treatment protocols or running research trials in the hospital, nurses are known for coming up with ways to solve tough problems.

A University of Florida College of Nursing and UF Health Shands Nursing collaboration means nurses now have a way to develop those innovations and address complex challenges facing today’s health care systems.

Through an academic-practice partnership, funding has been awarded to teams of UF Health nurses and college faculty. The money will be used to support their efforts to develop research projects they hope will transform the nursing profession and how health care is delivered.

“Nurses are not just caregivers; we are scientists as well,” said Anna McDaniel, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing.

Each project team includes multiple principal investigators — at least one from the College of Nursing and one from UF Health Shands Nursing — as well as co- investigators and consultants who all contribute expertise. Eight teams, covering topics like COVID-19 discoveries, stroke care and nurse recruitment and retention, were
selected for funding.

The collaboration began after College of Nursing faculty and UF Health nursing staff devised a plan to help nurses receive greater support for projects originating from the bedside. UF Health’s standards for patient care call for nurses in leadership roles to develop self-directed projects, but this initiative marks the first-time clinicians at all levels have access to a formal program for securing funded research — as well as a direct partnership with college faculty members.

One research project will investigate discoveries made during the COVID-19 pandemic to help improve wound care. UF Health nurses on the Wound Care and Critical Care teams discovered that some patients with the COVID-19 virus reported unusual skin injuries that did not fit the definitions of typical wounds.

Another project will focus on creating the next generation of nurses in the community. Reflecting on Gainesville’s transient nature, UF Health Unit 66 Clinical Nurse Leader Kim Martinez saw the need to identify ways to increase the number of nurses choosing to train and work here. She and her team have worked to develop a mentorship project at Eastside High School.