Health Services Researcher Pathway for Registered Nurses: An Integrative Literature Review




Mallidou, AA
Converse, M
Randhawa, GK
Atherton, P
MacPhee, M
Bryant, L-A
Redekopp, M
Mickelson, G
Borycki, E
Young, L

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Health Care: Current Reviews


Background: Research competencies across nurses’ career stages have not been adequately explored. Yet, research skills to appraise, synthesize, and implement research findings are required for evidence-based practice. Purpose: To explore the literature on registered nurse research competencies; to identify core competencies (i.e., knowledge, skills, and attitudes), research capacity-building activities, strategies and recommendations to strengthen nurses’ research capacity; and to propose a conceptual developmental framework of nurse research competencies. Methods: As part of a larger project titled “Health Services Researcher Pathway”, with the consultation of a health sciences librarian, we conducted an integrative literature review drawing on relevant publications. The PubMed (Medline), CINAHL, Web of Science and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses databases were searched from 2000 to 2012. From the revealed publications (n=1012), only 22 articles were relevant to nurse research competencies. Findings: The key themes cited in the literature reviewed include models and partnerships for building and developing competencies for research production (rather than utilization), and educational strategies and recommendations for interventions to provide confidence in evidence-based practice including research utilization and in clinical decisionmaking. According to the five-step evidence-based practice model (i.e., formation of answerable research questions, literature search and retrieval of the best available evidence, critical appraisal of the evidence, application of research findings into practice, and evaluation of performance based on the outcomes), we propose a framework for a nurse researcher pathway that may contribute to two research competency streams: for research users and research producers. The important area of research users is open for further research, since scarce literature exists. Conclusions: The proposed conceptual developmental framework for a nurse researcher pathway includes essential steps toward evidence-based practice in healthcare that have implications at the micro-level (nurse), mesolevel (organization), and macro-level (society). Our work continues to pilot and refine a nurse researcher pathway and its associated competencies.



Health Services Research (HSR), Nurse, Research capacity building, Research competency, Health Services Researcher Pathway (HSRP), Research skills


Mallidou, A.A., Converse, M., Randhawa, G.K., Atherton, P., ManPhee, M., Bryant, L-A., … Frisch, N. (2014). Health services researcher pathway for registered nurses: An integrative literature review. Health Care: Current Reviews, 2(114), 1-6.