New research appointment recognizes nurses and health disciplines

By Ana Gajic

Cecilia Santiago, who started her career at St. Michael’s as a critical care nurse, has always had the research bug.

Cecilia Santiago, nursing practice manager, shares her research findings at the IPBR showcase.
(Photo by Yuri Markarov)

Even though she felt supported by the hospital’s long-standing culture of innovation, there was a gap.

“For frontline staff, research isn’t our primary role but it is key to evidence based practice” she said. “Previously doing and integrating research into our practice wasn’t always possible or prioritized.”

Now, that will change. For the first time, nurses and health disciplines engaged in research across the network will be eligible to apply for a research appointment at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute (LKSKI).

“We take great pride in the fact that our clinicians seek to deliver excellent patient care using the best available evidence,” said Sonya Canzian, vice president of Clinical Programs at St. Joseph’s (interim) and at St. Michael’s and chief nursing and health disciplines officer (interim). “The new ‘Practice Based Researcher (Status-Only)’ Appointment will recognize and empower the innovative research being carried out by our nurses and health disciplines.”

Historically, certain barriers may have impeded our clinicians from leading research projects, said Dr. Jane Topolovec-Vranic, Director of Interprofessional Practice Based Research at St. Michael’s.

“We are aiming to break down these barriers by building the infrastructure to support clinicians in practice based research. The new Appointment is an important step toward that.”

Traditionally, a scientist appointment at LKSKI requires affiliation with a university, a commitment of time dedicated to research; criteria which are challenging for practicing nurses and Health Disciplines to meet. With the new Appointment clinicians will be able to apply if they are the lead on an ongoing study or have recently presented/published their research.

“These new appointments are a tangible way of bridging research and clinical practice across the network and to encourage our nurses and health disciplines to develop their research ideas,” said Dr. Patricia O’Campo, interim vice-president of Research.

For Rachel Devitt, professional practice leader of Occupational Therapy and manager of Clinical Research at Providence Healthcare, this is the first step to evolving research across the network.

“I am always impressed with full-time clinicians who take on research,” Devitt said. “It takes a lot of time. This will add a layer of acknowledgement for them.”

Applications for the Appointment will open in January 2019.

“Currently practice-based research is carried out in pockets, in silos,” Dr. Topolovec-Vranic said. “These new Appointments will help to develop a community of like-minded clinicians who seek to generate evidence that changes practice across the network. We want to motivate our clinicians to participate in research.”