Learn More About Health Services Research

Learn More About Health Services Research

BC Nursing Research Initiative (BCNRI) research priorities reflect deliberation by diverse stakeholders (government, employers, BCNU, academics and nurses themselves) regarding BC’s needs, history, strengths and opportunities. These research priorities emphasize that nursing health services issues are not highly visible in the research activities of either the academic or health services sectors.

InspireNet takes up these stakeholders’ views that research and knowledge uptake are important for addressing numerous outstanding concerns related to health care organization and delivery. There is a consensus that Nursing disciplines have a critical need to address complex, recurring health system issues and inform policy. A number of these issues can best be addressed collaboratively by the research and health system communities. The questions raised by such issues require multi-level perspectives on research and increased capacity among nurses to engage in this work, both as independent researchers and as participating members of multidisciplinary and interprofessional teams.

The BC experience is not unique. Writers identified a need across North America to build capacity among nurses to engage in nursing Health Services Research (HSR)1. These authors raised concerns that nurses were foregoing important opportunities to influence the future directions of health care delivery. While progress has been made in Canada over the last 20 years to build nursing research capacity, the challenge remains to sustain that progress and improve our capability to apply knowledge for beneficial impacts to patients, providers and the health care system2. InspireNet is a timely initiative that will support these aims.

Nursing HSR can have several meanings:

· A global approach to study heath care delivery and systems3

· An examination of the structures, processes and outcomes of nursing care at population levels4 and

· The evaluation of nursing practice innovations and improvements in care delivery5

Nursing definitions of HSR may be more restrictive than others, for example, the Board of Directors of the Association for Health Service Research (AHSR) (now the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy) adopted a definition of HSR in 2000 to reflect the evolution and sophistication of the field. This definition provides a comprehensive description:

“Health services research is the multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and process, health technologies, and personal behaviors affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and ultimately our health and well-being. Its research domains are individuals, families, organizations, institutions, communities, and populations.”6

InspireNet will adopt a broad view of HSR, however it will take as a priority need the fact that nurses in BC need additional preparation in and understanding of the field of HSR if nursing disciplines are to either use or generate findings that impact service delivery.

See the community's definition of HSR as it evolves on Wikipedia:


See CIHR's definition of HSR:

"Research with the goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of health professionals and the health care system, through changes to practice and policy. Health services research is a multidisciplinary field of scientific investigation that studies how social factors, financing systems, organizational structures and processes, health technologies, and personal behaviours affect access to health care, the quality and cost of health care, and, ultimately, Canadians' health and well-being."

1Bowman, CC, & Gardner, D. (2001). Building health services research capacity in nursing: Views from members of nursing’s leadership. Nursing Outlook, 49(4), 187-192.

2Canadian Health Services Research Foundation. (2008). Nursing research in Canada: A status report. Commissioned by the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing.

3 Ingersoll, GL, Hoffart, N, & Schultz, AW. (1990). Health services research in nursing: Current status and future directions. Nurs Econ, 8, 229-238.

4 Bradham, DD, Mangan, M, Warrick, A, Geiger-Brown, J, Reiner, JI, & Saunders, HJ. (2000). Linking innovative nursing practice to health services research. Nurs Clin North Amer, 35, 557-568.

5 Sidani, S, & Braden, CJ. (1999). Evaluating nursing interventions: A theory-driven approach. Thousand Oaks (CA): SAGE.

6 Lohr, KN, & Steinwachs, DM. (2002). Health services research: An evolving definition of the field. Health Serv Res, 37(1), 15-17.

I would like to...