Critical Reading of Research

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Nurses worldwide need to continually look for
“solutions, choices and outcomes for patients that represent the best available knowledge internationally” (Hamer and Collinson 1999 p.4) to constantly improve and validate nursing care.
The Nurses and Midwives Board New South Wales
(NMB NSW) Strategic Plan 2004 to 2007 includes an objective to promote education and research related to contemporary practice and educational programs leading to registration, enrolment and authorisation (NMB NSW 2006 clause 2). The
United Kingdom Nursing and Midwifery Council (UK
NMC 2002 clause 6.5) require a registered nurse or midwife to maintain their professional knowledge and competence by delivering care based on current evidence, best practice and, where applicable and available, validated research. Such an objective can be achieved if nurses and midwives develop an understanding of the research process and demonstrate an ability to retrieve and critically assess research findings.
Critical awareness is crucial to being a registered nurse or midwife. Hamer and Collinson (1999) suggest nurses should be more questioning, try to see more than one side of an argument; try to be objective rather than subjective; weigh the evidence; make judgements based on reason, evidence or logic; look at the meaning behind the facts; identify issues arising from the facts; and recognise when further evidence is needed. “A nurse is responsible to ensure that the standard of the nurse’s practice conforms with professional standards with the object of enhancing the safety of the individual, any significant other person and colleagues” (ANMC 2007 clause
2). This is echoed by the United Kingdom Nursing and Midwifery Council in their Code of Conduct which states: “You are personally accountable for your practice. This means you are answerable for

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