Conducting Nursing Research to Advance and Inform Health Policy

Carol Hall Ellenbecker, Jean Edward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The primary roles of nurse scientists in conducting health policy research are to increase knowledge in the discipline and provide evidence for informing and advancing health policies with the goal of improving the health outcomes of society. Health policy research informs, characterizes, explains, or tests hypotheses by employing a variety of research designs. Health policy research focuses on improving the access to care, the quality and cost of care, and the efficiency with which care is delivered. In this article, we explain how nurses might envision their research in a policy process framework, describe research designs that nurse researchers might use to inform and advance health policies, and provide examples of research conducted by nurse researchers to explicate key concepts in the policy process framework. Health policies are well informed and advanced when nurse researchers have a good understanding of the political process. The policy process framework provides a context for improving the focus and design of research and better explicating the connection between research evidence and policy. Nurses should focus their research on addressing problems of importance that are on the healthcare agenda, work with interdisciplinary teams of researchers, synthesize, and widely disseminate results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-217
Number of pages10
JournalPolicy, Politics, and Nursing Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


  • health policy
  • nurse research
  • policy process
  • research designs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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