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Building the Case for a Research Center at the VA. Resources. Personal Communication Cathy Rick, Chief Nurse Executive VHA Anna Alt-White, Director Nursing Research VHA Doreen Watts, former director Trauma Research Center Audrey Nelson, Director Nursing Research Program, Tampa VA.

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  • Personal Communication
    • Cathy Rick, Chief Nurse Executive VHA
    • Anna Alt-White, Director Nursing Research VHA
    • Doreen Watts, former director Trauma Research Center
    • Audrey Nelson, Director Nursing Research Program, Tampa VA
  • The National Commission on Veterans Administration (VA) Nursing was established through Public Law 107-135 in 2002. The charge to the Commission was to recommend legislative and organizational policy changes that would enhance the recruitment and retention of nurses and to assess the future of the nursing profession within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Personal communication: Cathy Rick and Anna Alt-White, Office of the Chief Nurse Executive
va nurses
VA Nurses
  • 38,000 registered nurses nationwide
    • 34% bachelor degree
    • 19% masters or doctoral
  • 650 registered nurse VAMHCS
    • 40% bachelor degree
    • 20% masters
    • 9% doctoral
opportunistic timing
Opportunistic Timing
  • VA Commission mandates restructuring of nursing service lines by 2004
    • VAMHCS current structure
      • Decentralized
      • Acting leadership
center for nursing research
Center for Nursing Research
  • Purpose:
    • to provide a framework for organizing quality education and research to support the values and mission of the VA in concert with the Commissions recommendations.
    • will function under the umbrella of the Center for Excellence in Quality Nursing Care at VHA
research center broad outcomes
Research Center Broad Outcomes
  • High visibility for nursing in the organization.
  • A structure to organize a research committee and research task force
  • Serve as a basis for evidence based research
  • Demonstrate organizational commitment to nursing and research

Mini-Center for






Medical Center Director

Chief Nurse

Chief of Staff

Nurse Executive



  • Information Sharing
    • Meetings with key stakeholders for buy in to the mini-center
    • Town hall meetings with inter-disciplinary staff
      • Advanced practice nurses
      • Inpatient team members
      • Social work/PT/OT, Audiology
      • Outpatient clinics
goals year one
Goals: Year One
  • Obtain office/library space from the Space Committee
  • Build a research library: solicit donations from staff, pharmaceutical educational donations, publishers of text and journals
  • Solicit interest in research via key personnel: clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, staff nurses, social workers, nutritionists, physicians
  • Selection of an area of interest to begin a research proposal: Delphi study, needs assessment, QI data to minimize data collection, secondary data base
goals year one1
Goals: Year One
  • Begin an inter-disciplinary research committee of interested staff to assist in coordination of a research project to include a bio-statistician ( proposal to IRB submission)
  • Begin partnership with the University affiliate: meet with School of Nursing faculty to introduce the mini-center and future alliance to foster joint research studies and opportunities for nursing students clinical rotation in research
goals year two
Goals: Year Two
  • Apply for funding for the selected study: VA Nursing Research Initiative, small grant from an organization or society, pharmaceutical sponsored grant
  • Develop a staff nurse mini-grant program using the model of Shands Healthcare, Gainesville, Florida to foster and maintain nursing interest and satisfaction (Rivers, Cohen, & Counsell, 2004)
  • Initiate data collection on research study: solicit buy in from nurse managers and supervisors to support the ongoing data collection/analyses
goals year two1
Goals: Year Two
  • Continue research committee meetings to foster and maintain the research culture
  • Initiate a Web based VA or VISN research newsletter to enhance visibility of research endeavors
  • Continue partnership with University affiliate: mini-center to provide mentorship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate nursing students
goals year two2
Goals: Year Two
  • Prepare manuscript(s) for publication and/or poster/podium presentations, nursing/hospital grand rounds
  • Participate in National VA Research day with poster(s): initial/interim data of research study; and the development process of the mini-center
  • Nurse Executive for Research to engage in a joint academic appointment with a university affiliation ; type of appointment to be contracted
va academic appointments
  • Full time VA with adjunct status/appointment at the University
  • Two independent appointments at the VA and the University
  • MD Model: 5/8ths VA appointment 1/8th University appointment
outcomes advantages
  • Improved image of nursing with an increased emphasis on career development and educational opportunities
  • Outcomes need to be tailored and declared to as an intentional part of the research projects.
  • Direct outcomes of the program will be refereed publications, poster presentations and national and/or international recognition.
  • to improve the quality of patient care through evidenced practice guidelines developed via the research process.
  • A mini-center for research offers a viable and evident organizational structure that gives visibility and opportunity for participation by practicing nurses in the research process.
  • existence of the center will foster a high level of nursing practice congruent with the Commissions directive to increase the number of nurses involved in the research process.
  • Ultimately, the quality of care in the VISN may improve as the results of the center become known in the VHA and community