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Expanding the definition of 'researcher'; encouraging nurse researchers at Upstate

Who asks the questions in medical and healthcare research?

Who examines hospital processes and patient care practices?

To Jolene Kittle, PhD, RN, breaking down barriers to include a wider variety of medical professionals in research is the goal.

Kittle has recently filled the position at Upstate Medical University as a research scientist nurse; working to help Upstate’s nursing staff through the process of creating scientific studies, conducting research, publishing academic writings, and presenting at conferences. The first barrier? Changing the mindset about who has the ability to conduct research.

“It’s always been in my mind too; scientific research is only available to certain groups. But it’s not. Nurses can take a lead role. These resources are accessible to us as much as anyone.”

Kittle describes valuable nursing research articles that have been done on staffing models, length of shifts and patient outcomes. “It needs to be the people who are taking care of the patients, and that's exactly who we want taking the lead on this,” explains Kittle.

In the first few months in her new role, Kittle has been talking with many of the Upstate resources available, such as the CNY Biotech Accelerator and the Clinical Research Unit, which are excited at the prospect of helping nurses with any ideas they may have about beneficial research.

“I can help make those connections and help with all the institutional knowledge in the background,” says Kittle. “They need to come with the idea and the passion and the determination to do it.”

For more information on nurse-led research, reach out to Jolene Kittle at [email protected]