JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The TriService Nursing Research Program held its annual Research and Evidence-Based Dissemination Course April 4-6, 2023, in San Antonio, Texas. This course included keynote lectures by military leaders and nationally known clinical experts, along with plenary sessions featuring research and EBP presentations from tri-service active, reserve, guard, and retired military nurse scientists and researchers.
The TSNRP is the country’s only Department of Defense program that supports and funds armed forces nurses to conduct operationally relevant military nursing research and EBP that improves the quality of care provided to service members. TSNRP is led by Executive Director Col. Young Yauger, Ph.D., CRNA, and is governed by an Executive Board of Directors that is compromised of the nursing corps chief or directors of each service.
The annual dissemination course serves as an opportunity for military nurse scholars to come together to discuss ongoing and past research, as well as plan future research efforts.
“Army, Air Force, and Navy officers, and even Canadian Armed Forces nurses, were all in attendance,” Yauger said. “It is important to have that partnership because many of the challenges that we're experiencing our allies are facing as well.”
The program fosters and funds collaborations to solve complex problems in both operational and garrison environments to provide better care and plan for upcoming operational needs.
“Nurses are in every aspect of the medical field and are responsible for carrying out the duties given to us by the Nurse Corps Chiefs and focus our research on their specific priorities,” he said. “The research and EBP are used to identify and address the current gaps in nursing practice.”
Ongoing research is being conducted by military nurses across the country and outside of the continental United States in the U.S. military facilitates. Military nurses come together through TSNRP’s six Research Interest Groups- Anesthesia, Biobehavioral Health, Expeditionary Care, Health Systems Informatics, Military Family and Women’s Health. All the groups play an important role in enhancing the quality of care for patients and the work lives of nurses.
“Our nurses are doing research right now to identify effective strategies to employ or improve resiliency within our military forces,” he said. “Utilizing system informatics to analyze data plots, we are able to better understand burnout for nursing care, how it affects our practitioners and clinicians, and the overwhelming changes within the medical field, particularly with the incorporation of the Defense Health Agency as the primary provider of Garrison Medicine within the DoD.”
It was a sentiment that was echoed by the nurse corps leaders who were present for the course.
“The Tri-Service Nursing Research Program created evidence on the best practices on communication for women’s health concerns in combat and shaped policies through evidence-based solutions for resilience, recruitment, and retention of nurse corps officers,” said Brig. Gen. Jeannine Ryder, Chief Nurse of the Air Force and commander of the 59th Medical Wing. “Findings from nursing anesthesia, women’s health, nursing workload, and behavioral health are informing the Defense Health Agency guidance and emergency trauma nursing guidelines with resources.”
Col. Yauger believes that the issues being discussed by the RIG membership take on a think-tank mentality because members of TSNRP are addressing questions that senior leaders are intrigued by and attempting to find feasible solutions, for example, combat palliative care.
“We're shaping the narrative on combat palliative care as we move forward,” Yauger said. “There aren't many people who are thinking about these concerns, which provides ample opportunity to demonstrate our innovative thought on how to reincorporate these efforts, potentially, from the past, by bringing those ideas back to the present, and applying them to the future.”
Yauger and TSNRP representatives are working to increase the reach and knowledge of the program among military nurses, and the officers they serve.
“We've created the Early Career Investigator Coaching Program dedicated to the recruitment of junior officers by providing an immersive experience that emphasizes the value of nursing research and EBP, along with inspiring them to view TSNRP as an asset that contributes to the overall efforts of the Military Health System in the DOD,” he said.
Maj. Enesha Hicks, Clinical Inquiry in Nursing Readiness Fellow, 59th Medical Wing, became familiar with TSNRP five years ago. She was presented with the Karen Rieder Outstanding Poster Award for her presentation on “Accelerating Evidence-Based Practice Through a San Antonio Market Council” during the dissemination course.
“Dr. Rieder was an exceptional nurse who significantly impacted military nursing well beyond her service in the Navy,” Hicks said. “I am humbled and thankful to receive this award and would like to bolster other nurses and interdisciplinary team members to continue her legacy.”
Hicks commented that those who are associated with the program have been a supportive community that has broadened her reach as a professional and has inspired her to optimally support junior members, peers, and leaders. That push for junior officers to become involved in research and EBP, as well as the TSNRP community, was also discussed by Ryder.
“We encourage junior officers to cultivate innovation, ideas, and solutions to practical nursing problems concerning operational and garrison nursing paradigms, while senior officers leverage their skills and advanced education to utilize these concepts,” Ryder said.
Collaboration among all military nurses and military nurse retirees is essential for fostering innovative nursing science solutions and relies on every member to contribute to the overall success. Once you’re a member of TSNRP, you can always contribute and give back to the organization through mentorship.
“The value of nursing research and EBP in the DoD are ubiquitously recognized throughout the Military Health System, and we need to ensure we as a community disseminate that information to increase the general awareness of potential solutions,” Yauger said. “The TriService Nursing Research Program is a community of individuals with warm, embracing arms that are working together to address different medical concerns. We have a lot to offer, and our nurses are working hard to ensure our voices are heard.”