Columbia Nursing Partnership Connects Hospital Nurses with Research Opportunities

October 19, 2016

A recently launched project called LINK is connecting clinical nurses from NewYork-Presbyterian who have research ideas with academic nurses and statistical support from Columbia University School of Nursing. The LINK partnership builds upon existing relationships between the two institutions.


LINK, which stands for Linking to Improve Nursing Care and Knowledge, is Columbia Nursing’s response to a report by the American Association of Colleges of Nurses encouraging more deep-rooted relationships between clinical practice, research and academic nursing schools. .


“LINK will not only help us create and develop stronger relationships between nurses at NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University School of Nursing, but it has the potential to help to improve patient outcomes,” says Elaine Larson, PhD, associate dean for research, who is one of five Columbia Nursing faculty  members on the LINK team. Interest in the program is already evident. Even though LINK is not fully rolled-out, Larson says they have already received research ideas from 13 nurses.


The ideas—some very specific and others more general—are centered around issues important to patient care, for instance, how to minimize distress among pediatric patients that are undergoing an MRI.



The LINK team will help develop those ideas into research projects that can collect useful information that they hope will lead to better patient outcomes.


The LINK team will work with the clinical nurses to help them define the aims of the research and assess the feasibility of implementing it. They will work on practical issues, too, starting with finding necessary resources.


“Once we get through the initial process, we will help our nurse colleagues to design their projects and see it through the Institutional Review Board process," says Eileen Carter, PhD, assistant professor,  and one of three LINK team members who holds joint appointments at Columbia Nursing and NewYork-Presbyterian.


The process may sound overwhelming, but the LINK team says they’re already working on several ideas that they believe can lead to important improvements in patient outcomes. Larson sees this as a win-win situation. “Our colleagues from NewYork-Presbyterian give us a clinical perspective and in return we share our research skills.”


Nurses who submit their research ideas through an online LINK form can expect a response from the Columbia Nursing team within a few days. The team says there is no set number of projects it can take on, but this is a pilot year to gain more experience and get a better idea of the needs and interests.


Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD, dean of Columbia University School of Nursing has committed the school to a one-year pilot study of the LINK project. The LINK team is confident that the quality of the ideas coming from their clinical nursing colleagues will mean the LINK program goes on far beyond the pilot stage.


“The way we’re moving in terms of our interactions with our clinical partners is terrific,” says Larson. “Nursing is a practice discipline and we can’t ever separate ourselves from our practice.”