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Key Historical Developments In Nursing Research

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Key Historical Developments


Patricia A. Forrest

University of Phoenix

Issues and Strategies in Nursing Research Utilization

Professor Barbara Biddle, RN, MSN

August 28, 2006

A discussion of the key historical developments in nursing research is to review some of the richest elements of the history of nursing itself. It is important to note that without nursing research, nurses are limited in the ability to practice in an evidenced-based profession. "Nursing research, both qualitative and quantitative, is critical for quality, cost-effective health care". (Nursing Research Position Statement, International Council of Nurses, 1997, Nursing Research: Building International Research Agenda. Report of the Expert Committee on Nursing Research. Geneva: ICN. Retrieved August 27, 2006 from Two key historical developments in nursing research along with two historical developments in nursing research utilization will be discussed as well as an additional development in research utilization.

One key historical development in nursing research is the work done by Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War. She researched the ill effects of poor hygiene and sanitation among the military during the war. The rate of sickness and death among the soldiers was greatly impacted by the poor conditions the soldiers faced on the battlefield. Because of the work of Florence Nightingale, "The military began to view the sick as having the right to adequate food, suitable quarters and appropriate medical treatment. These interventions drastically reduced mortality from 43% to 2% in the Crimean War. (Burns & Grove, 2003).

We are also indebted to Florence Nightingale for a historical development in nursing research utilization because Nightingale "also used research knowledge to make significant changes in society, such as testing public water, improving sanitation, preventing starvation, and decreasing" sickness and death. (Burns & Grove, 2003). Florence Nightingale focused on the environment and how it affected a patient's health and well-being. It is incredible to realize that her theories are truly the foundation for modern day nursing. Clean water, light, clean air and sanitary conditions continue to be powerful tools in the war against disease.

Another key historical development in nursing research came about in 1950. The American Nurses Association (ANA) conducted a five year study on "nursing functions and activities" (Burns & Grove, 2003). The results of this study were used to define just what the professional nurse is. "The research conducted by the ANA and specialty groups provided the basis for the nursing practice standards that currently guide professional practice" (Burns & Grove, 2003.) The historical development in nursing research utilization is seen with "the publication of the first research journal,



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