Current Research Assistant’s Learning Experience at Boise State University School of Nursing
Objective: In this poster, I will discuss current research assistants’ (RAs) research learning experiences at Boise State University School of Nursing based on my personal experience. I will discuss what I did and learned as a current RA. Methodology: Professor Cathy Deckys and I worked with a team of three nurses who were Fellows in the 2012-2013 St. Luke's Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice Fellowship program. The research focused on the evaluation of the self-assessed clinical competencies of RNs in a designated float pool compared to unit-specific staff because of the gap we found in the literature. I assisted with literature review and data analysis process. At the beginning of the project, Professor Deckys and I joined team meetings and discussed the goals and plan for the project and their expectations for us. I completed the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training and Johns Hopkins Nursing Evidence-based Practice Course to be competent during the research process. I conducted research on numerous databases to find relevant evidence and used JHNEBP Non-Research Evidence Appraisal and Research Evidence Appraisal tools to evaluate the overall quality and strength of evidence. I also assisted the team to analyze data using the Nurse Competence Scale (NCS), a standardized 73-item questionnaire with seven competence categories (Meretoja, Isoaho, & Leino-Kilpi, 2004). Conclusion: This was a valuable learning experience for me because it gave me an opportunity to practice research skills in a real life situation. I learned how to effectively communicate and collaborate with team members and to plan and manage a research project. Being a RA also helped me to develop a mentoring relationship with the faculty member.