Research Common Core: Revitalizing the Monthly Research Education Conference


Problem statement
In a large teaching institution with multiple research departments, keeping clinical research nurses in compliance with national standards and institutional requirements is challenging. We sought to effectively engage both expert and novice while providing educational content for the adult learner in an innovative manner.

Description of the Program/Evaluation
“Current Issues in Research” has been a monthly forum since 2000, targeting primarily clinical research nurses with a variety of subjects ranging from the informed consent process to data security. Developing new and interesting topics while reviewing basics for new hires is challenging. Collaboration between the IRB educator and a nurse researcher/IRB member led to a discussion on reinvigorating the series, including the needs of the adult learner and how they process information, developing a “common core” of standard topics, keeping both novices and experts engaged, using evidence-based practice, drawing on new research practice literature, and fostering an environment of collegial, collaborative, multidisciplinary knowledge sharing.

The “common core” centered on required paperwork: informed consent, risks, benefits, data security, vulnerable populations, amendments, deviations, continuing review, adverse events, advertising, and ethics. Each month reviewed of key points, discussed a recent publication, and concluded with an audience member giving a “case presentation” of a solution they implemented that could be useful to other departments. Sharing case-based experiences promoted dialogue and reduced barriers between departments, fostered collaboration, and required audience engagement rather than passive learning. Prior to the rollout, mean monthly attendance was 21 research nurses; by April 2015, mean monthly attendance increased to 28. To encourage attendance, the planning committee applied for Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) hours for each session. In 2013, only one session had CNE offered; in 2014, nine sessions had CNE. The new initiatives in research education have drawn a broader audience, with physicians, PhDs, and bedside nurses attending. Evaluations demonstrated the effectiveness of the revised program, with attendees scoring well how objectives were met, and commenting that: “Use of examples helped with understanding significance of types of errors,” “Remember importance of context when explaining studies to patients,” and “Loved the video- Very interactive!”

Next Steps/ Implementation at Other Sites
We continue to seek topics and speakers from all research areas, including academics, nursing and medical students, and nursing and research administrators. Research nurses should be surveyed regarding educational interests to increase the likelihood they will be interested in topics, thereby increasing attendance. Future plans include networking with other institutions to foster new opportunities.