Nursing Research Has Been Critical to Improving the COVID-19 Pandemic Response


According to 2 editorials, research in the nursing field has been critically influential to understanding evidence-based health care practice, care delivery, and policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to 2 editorials in the journal Research in Nursing & Health, research in the nursing field has been critically influential to understanding evidence-based health care practice, care delivery, and policy during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In order to investigate this influence further, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing assessed what the role of nursing research has been in supporting patients during the pandemic.1-3

According to the authors of the guest editorial “Nursing Research Is Coronavirus Research,” nursing practice has not only saved lives throughout the pandemic, but it has also played a critical role in understanding the nature of care for patients with COVID-19. The research conducted to understand this role further has helped to progress knowledge regarding the necessary elements of more supportive work environments that save patient lives and promote recovery in both hospitals and nursing homes.1,2

Additionally, research in the field of nursing has helped to advance knowledge regarding how individuals sheltering at home with in-home nursing care are managing diets to support their health in light of chronic conditions, as well as how in-home nursing care has been able to stabilize chronic conditions during the pandemic.1,2

The research in the field has also been able to bring to light lessons from the past around areas of concern for patients in order to positively impact policy around patient care during the pandemic.1,2

"We know that nursing practice is saving lives in this pandemic. Nursing research also plays a critical role," write the authors of the guest editorial. “We support the move in universities to concentrate research on innovations directly related to the coronavirus crisis. But so much of nursing's research is coronavirus research. We applaud the search for reliable epidemiological data, effective treatments, and vaccines. We, though, must articulate nursing research's fundamental frame. We focus on the lived experiences of clinicians, patients, families, and communities.”2

The author of the second editorial “How Effective Response to COVID-19 Relies on Nursing Research,” Eileen T. Lake, PhD, the associate director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research and editor in chief of Research in Nursing & Health, explained further that throughout the pandemic, several clear challenges to an effective response to the public health crisis became evident. These challenges included the country’s restricted access to health care, the present surging demand for health care personnel, and the moral distress that many health care providers face during the pandemic.1,3

Lake also noted that in order to better help institutions meet the demands that the COVID-19 pandemic posed to the health care system, nursing research was critical to effectively inform crucial elements of policy response and institutional preparedness.1,3

"Nursing research provides answers during crises," writes Lake in the editorial. “In a time of profound upheaval, risk, and strain, it is reassuring to have evidence-based solutions to the challenges confronting our health care system and its clinicians.”3


  1. Nursing research informs response to COVID-19 pandemic. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing; April 27, 2020. November 30, 2020.
  2. D’Antonio P, Naylor M, Aiken L. Nursing research is coronavirus research. Research in Nursing & Health. 2020;43(3):215. doi: 10.1002/nur.22024.
  3. Lake ET. How effective response to COVID‐19 relies on nursing research. Research in Nursing & Health. 2020;43(3):213-214. doi: 10.1002/nur.22025.
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