Assignment: Scientific Underpinnings

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Assignment: Scientific Underpinnings

Assignment: Scientific Underpinnings

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The DNP Essentials (AACN, 2006) outline a number of scientific underpinnings for practice competencies for the DNP-prepared nurse. Reflect on the NR700 course readings, discussion threads, and applications you have completed across this course and write a reflective essay regarding the extent to which you feel you are now prepared to:

1.     “Integrate nursing science with knowledge from ethics, the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational sciences as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice.

2.     Use science-based theories and concepts to: determine the nature and significance of health and health care delivery phenomena; describe the actions and advanced strategies to enhance, alleviate, and ameliorate health and health care delivery phenomena as appropriate; and evaluate outcomes.

3.     Develop and evaluate new practice approaches based on nursing theories and theories from other disciplines” (AACN, 2006, p. 9).



American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN]. (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. Washington, DC: Author.

When considering how research competencies could be incorporated into dietetics practice, particularly in the science and clinical aspects of the profession, it’s important to think about the barriers and opportunities that exist both in dietetics training and in the workplace.


However, there are few concepts that need to be defined first. 
In this article, research is defined as the systematic investigation of phenomenon at both the fundamental and applied levels, with the precise themes of investigation differing across investigators and over time. 
Science is broad term that encompasses both biological and social sciences. 
Clinical components will also include references to inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as community-based settings. 
Dietetics is not defined in the same way as it is in the National Academy of Sciences’ Opportunities in the Nutrition and Food Sciences(1), which defines it as “the practice of nutrition in relation to nutritional science.” 
Dietetics is defined as “the management of the kind and quality of food to be eaten, especially as branch of medical science; dietitian is one who is competent in diet and who treats sickness through systematic course of diet” by the Oxford English Dictionary ((2)). 
Dietetics, as defined by The American Dietetic Association (ADA) in 1972 (3), is “the translation of the study of nutrition into the provision of optimal nutrition to humans.”


Why Do Dietitians Care About Research?


The food and nutrition sciences are multidisciplinary fields in and of themselves. 
They attempt to apply new knowledge to solve human issues as well as produce new knowledge. 
Dietetics places larger emphasis on applications than on the production of new information, whereas nutrition sciences place stronger emphasis on the latter.


Dietitians typically do study to better understand or remedy problem they’ve noticed in practice, rather than from theoretical standpoint. 
The benefit of this deductive approach, which begins with the patient or physical reality situation, is that the problem being treated is of some practical consequence. 
The drawback is that without resort to theory or organizing principles, solutions may not be found—and observations may be better informed with more exposure to basic theory.


The Importance of Scientific and Clinical Research Capability


The following traits ((4)) characterize the modern scientific worldview, all of which are directly relevant to translating basic and applied biology into food and nutrition realities:


Formulation of theories and testing theories by reference to evidence, rational coherence, and predicted experimental consequences; Quantification to establish theories and estimate effect sizes; Discovery of causal regularities and associations in interactions with nature; Scientific knowledge that extends beyond the subjective and culturally relative to broader intercultural levels;


Dietetics must be perpetually energised by new biological discoveries while applying what we currently know. 
Dietitians’ active participation in clinical and scientific research helps to shorten the time it takes to apply new and current knowledge quickly. 
Evidence of therapeutic efficacy is only the first step in the application procedure. 
In most fields, significant amount of time and effort is required to persuade practitioners to utilize the findings and overcome numerous barriers to acceptance ((5)). 
This acceptance is accelerated by dietitians’ participation in randomized clinical trials and other studies that provide practical evidence of effectiveness.


One reason for the requirement of scientific and clinical research skills is to ensure that new advancements in human food and nutritional health are included into dietetics practice. 
However, since it is not necessary for person to conduct research in order to keep their dietetics practice current, there must be additional reasons for insisting on scientific and clinical research competency.


Another reason for this emphasis is that dietitians must conduct their own research if they are to be leaders as well as followers. 
Not only is nutrition descriptive science, but it is also an experimental and analytic one. 
For it to progress, scientific and clinical research must be conducted. 
In scientific professional and academic life, prizes are mostly given for new discoveries and accomplishments in scientific research.


Third, because dietetics is subject that focuses on quickly using the best of food and nutrition information to solve human requirements, research competence to produce new knowledge must be integrated in dietetics practice.


fourth reason is more pragmatic, but it may be just as essential as the others in the end. 
Academic career progression is inextricably connected to scientific activity. 
Furthermore, scientific production is linked to one’s ability to acquire funds through writing and winning research grants. 
As universities grow more restrictive in terms of funding and available posts, pressure on all faculty members, especially those whose primary responsibilities have been didactic, to create research funds is anticipated to increase. 
Cross subsidies from other cost centers to fund research may become increasingly infrequent as hospitals grow more cost-conscious.


Today’s Contributions of Dietitians to Scientific and Clinical Research


When conducting research, it is important to find people who can complement one another and provide vital talents to the project. 
The question therefore becomes: What value do dietitians provide to research today, and what value may they bring in the future?


First, good dietitians usually have broad understanding of the foods that are commonly consumed, as well as the practicalities of getting people to eat, as well as the specific medical, economic, preference, and logistical issues involved in getting hygienic and tasty food to various groups of people. 
As result, they serve as useful reality checks in research groups, especially when nutrition is one of the experimental factors.


Second, due to rise in the number of clinical trials incorporating nutrition supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and commercial drug companies over the last 20 years, more dietitians are comfortable serving as coinvestigators and, in some cases, investigators in clinical trials. 
They understand the general concept of conducting clinical trials, why they are necessary, and how the results will be applied in daily practice.


Third, studies incorporating social and management sciences, such as health education, cost accounting, the establishment of care systems, practice standards, implementation, and outcomes evaluation, are often acceptable to dietitians.
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