This summer is full of research for me (among other things). I am working on two proposals, one is a pilot study that is in progress at the moment. That one is to test a survey tool being used in a larger study for clarity, reliability and validity as well as investigating how anxiety contributes to the use of emergent care in home care patients. This is not my particular field of interest, however I am an "expert" in home care patients and OASIS (which is a data set of outcomes that home care agencies are required to report to Medicare) so I am being "used" for this study, however it is helping me as well.
The other research proposal is my area of interest and it is the first step towards my dissertation. I will be presenting the proposal to the palliative care team at the Detroit VA later this month. I am hoping to conduct the study there. It is an investigation in regards to seriously ill or dying inpatients and their family and visitors and what type of spiritual/religious activities they seek out to help them cope with the present illness. Basically I am wanting to show that patients and their families do seek out spiritual/religious activities when they are ill and the health care system does not do all that they could to assist them with this coping measure. There are many definitions of "spiritual care" and "religious care" and it can sometimes be an uncomfortable subject for nurses to address with their patients. Holistic care addresses the entire person and when spiritual care is not addressed we are not providing good holistic care to our patients.
Research is difficult in that you have to take small baby steps to reach the final outcome. This means that you build on research, which is why this research project is a stepping stone to my dissertation, I need it as a base to show that this is important to patients, then I can begin looking at the outcomes of those patients who do receive spiritual care.....etc.
I am falling in love with research, even though it is tedious and time consuming. I love the organization of it and to see the results is really incredible. Good thing I love it, as that is basically what getting a PhD is about! At least I love SOMETHING about getting my PhD.......:o)