Nursing interventions to improve service to hospitalised patients

The Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Nursing Interventions for Hospitalised Patients was awarded to the Griffith Health Institute by the National Health and Medical Research Council and will receive $2.5 million funding over five years.

Director and one of 10 chief investigators of the CRE Professor Wendy Chaboyer said the centre will provide evidence to policymakers and clinicians to ensure patients receive the highest quality of hospital nursing care and that such care is cost-effective.

The CRE will focus research on skin integrity, and pain and anxiety for four reasons.

“We have chosen these two particular strands of nursing care because of their high risk of occurrence as complications for patients on top of their initial disease or injury; because of the high economic and psychosocial cost to hospitals and patients; and because of our research expertise,” Professor Chaboyer said.

“Fourthly, and most importantly, registered nurses are largely responsible for acute patient care related to both skin integrity and management of pain and anxiety, and we need to invest in research to support them to make the right decisions.

“Although nurses work with doctors and other health providers, the final decision about what intervention to implement for which patient, and how often, is ultimately determined and enacted on by the nurse caring for the patient.”

Through its research, the CRE will develop strategies to influence nursing practices and policy, and train future clinical nurse researchers.

“Much of what nurses do in hospitals is not evidence-based. Until recently, nurse researchers rarely conducted studies to evaluate the effect of their interventions,” Professor Chaboyer said.

The CRE comprises seven chief investigating researchers from Griffith University, three international chief investigators and associate investigators spread across Australia.

Major hospital partners include the Gold Coast Hospital, Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

Australia has more than 300,000 registered nurses. Nurses are the largest group of professional workers in the healthcare system, and fifty-four per cent of all nurses work in acute hospital settings. Up to 44 per cent of hospital operating budgets relate to nursing care costs, and nursing is the single largest labour cost for hospitals.