BC Nursing Research Initiative strengthens collaborative nursing research in BC

30 September 2016

The BC Nursing Research Initiative (BCNRI) has played an important role in strengthening BC’s approach to collaborative nursing health services research, according to a Summative Evaluation of the initiative. This is one of many successes highlighted in the evaluation, which focuses on the impact of BCNRI programs.

With funds of $8 million provided to the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research by the BC Ministry of Health in 2008, the BCNRI was formed to build capacity for, and fund, practice-relevant health services research related to three priority areas: health human resources, nursing education, and quality and safety of the practice environment.

The Summative Evaluation included a review of documents and interviews with stakeholders across a broad cross-section of the nursing community. Overall, the findings reveal many successes, some challenges and important learnings.

“The lessons learned through the BCNRI have been of value to MSFHR in developing our new suite of research competition programs, particularly those that focus on collaborative research,” says Bev Holmes, MSFHR vice-president, research & impact.

BCNRI undertook two main streams of activities: Foundational programs concentrated on capacity-building issues, while research projects programs funded research focused on BCNRI priorities.

The Nursing Research Facilitator Program provided a nursing research facilitator in each health authority over five years. The program achieved its mandate to build capacity and support of practice-relevant research. Three of the six participating health authorities have continued the research facilitator role, a strong indicator of the value added by the program.

The Nursing Health Services Research Network and its virtual platform InspireNet responded to a need to identify and link those active and interested in nursing research across the province. Stakeholders credit InspireNet for enhancing virtual collaboration among research teams, supporting communication and knowledge dissemination, and expanding province-wide access to research resources.

Three research programs were implemented by BCNRI to generate new practice-relevant research knowledge aligned with BCNRI priorities.

The Investigative Team, Initiative for a Palliative Approach in Nursing: Evidence & Leadership’s (iPANEL) team assembled a highly engaged group of researchers, practitioners and policy-makers united around a diverse but common palliative care agenda. Evaluation findings highlighted the team’s innovative and effective practices for engaging families, researchers, care providers, and policy makers in generating and applying research knowledge.

The Commissioned Research Program experienced mixed success in generating collaborative practice/policy-relevant research. Attempts to address politically-sensitive areas such as quality and safety of the practice environment met with challenges, but were seen as breaking new ground and fostered important learnings.

Projects funded under the Research Projects Program were seen as making strong contributions to health services research in BC. Stakeholders who collaborated on research teams reported the experience to be positive in forging relationships as well as arriving at processes and outcomes that met the standards of academic research and needs of practitioners.

BCNRI undertook a complex mandate to support and develop collaborative practice-relevant nursing research in a dynamic nursing and health services environment. One of the key lessons learned from BCNRI is the importance of partnerships between the policy, practice and academic communities to create conditions for successful collaborative research.

Health authority and ministry stakeholders perceived that BCNRI has raised the baseline capacity of front line nurses to gain new knowledge and skills, participate in the research and apply the findings.

Stakeholders saw these as important skills that would increase the capacity and effectiveness of nurse participation in multidisciplinary team research as well future discussions and decisions on health systems change.

Read the BC Nursing Research Initiative Summative Evaluation