How has nursing practice developed over the past year?

From mental health to critical care, nursing is a dynamic field of study and practice, one which is continually changing and presenting new challenges and areas for development.

In celebration of International Nurses Day we’ve spoken to academics and practitioners in the field to find out what they think has been the most important development in the field over the past year:

Research Practice

Vicki S. Conn Editor of Western Journal of Nursing Research

“Recent nursing research focused on interpreting big data is making remarkable contributions to knowledge development. Nurses are rapidly developing analytic strategies to harness the power of big data to address health and healthcare challenges. Long-known problems which affect health, well-being, and the cost of healthcare are being examined with cutting-edge big data studies. Research using these new diverse and complex massive data empowers nurses to attend to the long-standing goal of improving patient outcomes. Western Journal of Nursing Research recognized this important emerging research trend with a January 2017 special issue focused on big data science in nursing.”

Rosemarie Rizzo Parse Editor,
Nursing Science Quarterly:

“One of the most important developments in the discipline of nursing over the past year is that the construct nursing science is receiving renewed attention in reports from accrediting agencies, such as the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), in renowned schools of nursing, such as Johns Hopkins, and in nursing journals. For example, Elizabeth A.M.Barrett’s article, ‘Again What is Nursing Science?’, published in Nursing Science Quarterly attests to the emergence of a new focus on nursing science as a way of highlighting the discipline’s contribution to the health and quality of life of humankind. The article is now the basis of discussion in courses in nursing programs and in the Expert Panel on Nursing Theory-Guided Practice of the American Academy of Nursing.”

Janice M.  Bell, Editor, Journal of Family Nursing:

“Nursing scholars are realizing the potential of harnessing a variety of social media channels to advance nursing knowledge.”

Benny Goodman, author of Psychology and Sociology in Nursing:

“As this year we celebrate ‘achieving the sustainable development goals’ it is appropriate to focus on a collaborative education and research project, the NurSus project. This strategic partnership between four European universities seeks to enhance the availability/relevance of a sound learning offer in Sustainability Literacy and Competency (SLC) in nurse education by developing innovative teaching and learning approaches and materials.

At the same time, we have seen Planetary Health emerging as a new discipline drawing together research into the external systems that sustain or threaten human health. They form a new paradigm, beyond biomedicine, for education and practice following the COP21 accord in Paris.”

Ann McMahon and Andree Le May Co-Editor-in-Chiefs Journal of Research in Nursing:

“It’s always hard for individuals to predict important developments in nursing research or education, which is why JRN asks its readers to nominate papers for consideration for the ‘Veronica Bishop Paper of the Year Award’ each year. The winning paper needs to connect policy, practice and research, be innovative, timely and have the potential to make a difference.  Last year the successful paper focused on discharge planning – a complex topic that is always prominent, but poorly understood, in the minds of service users, their families, nurses working across sectors and specialities, policy makers and planners as well as politicians.”


Kim Lützén Editor-in-Chief and David Edvardsson Assistant Editor-in-Chief of Nordic Journal of Nursing Research:

“From a Nordic perspective, we can see a strong tendency for nursing research and nursing education becoming more focused on integrating evidence-based nursing and the conceptual model of person-centred care. The increasing number of manuscripts submitted to the NJNR over the past year substantiates our view. However, keeping in mind that the goal of evidence-based practice entails adapting care to standardised guidelines on the group level, while person-centred care is focused on the individual’s needs and preferences, we envisage a challenge for future nursing research.”

Jaynelle F. Stichler, Co-Editor of HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal:

“Nursing research has achieved a new level of maturity in many organizations in the past year. More nurses with doctorates are engaged in clinical practice settings conducting research, mentoring others in their research, and disseminating new knowledge. Nearly all nursing education settings have prepared nurses at the baccalaureate and master’s levels to apply research through evidence-based practice projects in the clinical settings.  With emphasis on hospitals aspiring to be Magnet designated, the journey to achieve Magnet has facilitated organizational culture changes supporting nursing research, evidence-based practice, and innovation. More clinical nurses than ever before are engaged in research efforts or the application of evidence in practice which has enhanced the professionalism of nursing, and most importantly, resulted in improved patient, provider, and organizational outcomes.”

Laws and qualifications

Maher M. El-Masri, Editor, Canadian Journal of Nursing Research:

“I believe that the Ontario and federal legislative changes which broadened the scope of practice of primary healthcare nurse practitioners (PHCNPs) were the most important nursing education and practice related development in Canada. The province of Ontario has expanded scope of practice of PHCNPs to include the provision of medical assisted dying, while upcoming legislation is expected to give them authority to prescribe controlled substances. Further, the 2017 Federal budget of Canada permitted PHCNPs to certify patient disabilities that are within their scope of practice for tax credit purposes. These are important provisions that are worthy of recognition and celebration.”

Peter Ellis, author of Understanding Research for Nursing Students, Evidence-based Practice in Nursing, Understanding Ethics for Nursing Students and Leadership, Management and Team-Working in Nursing:

“Within the UK, arguably the most important recent development has been the introduction of revalidation.  The increased professionalisation of nursing and the move to an all-degree profession has made monitoring continuing professional development among nurses a must. The requirements of the process introduce safeguards for the profession and patients with UK nurses for the first time having to demonstrate their commitment to life-long-learning through training, reading and reflection.  For some it has been a step too far while for the majority it has been an opportunity to re-engage and take pride in the values which initially brought them into the profession.”

Sally S. Cohen, PhD, RN, FAAN, Editor-in-Chief, Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice

“With the passing of Rear Admiral (Ret.) Faye Glenn Abdellah, EdD, LLD, ScD, RN, FAAN in February 2017, the world lost one of the most important nurses of the 20th and 21st centuries. She broke the glass ceiling of public health when she became the first nurse and woman to hold the position of Deputy Surgeon General of the United States (1981-1989). She was a Korean War veteran and the recipient of five Distinguished Service Medals. With 11 honorary degrees, groundbreaking practices in global public health, and enduring respect for humanity, she leaves a legacy that we all commemorate on International Nurses Day.” 

Browse a selection of free content here until June 12th 2017 for International Nurses Day.

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