05 06 christensen science of nursing excellence header
Beyond Bedside Care: Navigating the Science of Nursing Excellence
Nursing excellence extends beyond direct patient care. Nurse Scientist Scott Christensen breaks down the science of nursing and invites UUH nurses to engage in evidence-based practice and research and share their ideas and accomplishments broadly.

n the fast-paced world of healthcare, nurses play a vital role in patient care, demonstrating dedication, compassion, and expertise. Yet, our efforts toward nursing excellence go beyond the care we deliver in the moment; they also involve the science and evidence supporting our practices. Evidence-based practice (EBP) and research are crucial in our field because they give us a solid base for patient care that's well-informed, efficient, and continuously improved.

The Nurse in Nursing Science

Nurses play a crucial role in elevating patient care by exchanging innovative, evidence-based concepts to develop and enhance our practices. This involvement in the science of nursing is essential for University of Utah Health (U of U Health) nurses to attain excellence, as recognized by the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program. However, some nurses might feel disconnected from nursing science, perhaps due to uncertainty about its importance or a lack of guidance on how to get involved.

At U of U Health, our nursing practice encompasses research, evidence-based practice, and quality improvement.

screen shot 2024 05 02 at 11 57 32 am

In simple terms, research helps us discover the best evidence for nursing practice. Evidence-based practice (EBP) then takes these research findings and integrates them into our methods. Quality improvement initiatives further push us to continuously enhance our practices over time.

Nursing Science in Action: “BERT Program”

Nursing science follows a cycle that starts with asking clinical questions. For instance, when we established our Behavioral Emergency Response Team (BERT) program, we asked a key question: "What are the most effective ways to de-escalate non-violent patients/visitors in various clinical settings?" We crafted our BERT program by gathering evidence from research and consulting with experts.

In the years following its launch, we consistently used quality improvement methods to refine the BERT program's effectiveness in reducing workplace violence. Interestingly, we noticed that nurses were hesitant to report incidents of workplace violence, which prompted us to conduct our own research to understand why. This investigation led to new insights and evidence-based recommendations, contributing to an ongoing cycle of discovery, implementation, and improvement.

Sharing New Knowledge and Ideas

The last step in nursing science is sharing what we have learned with others. This way, our discoveries can help more people and become new best practices. We share our findings locally and nationally through presentations (posters, podiums) and publishing our results.

All U of U Health nurses are invited to actively engage, submit ideas, and join us in celebrating the accomplishments that shape our commitment to advancing patient care and nursing excellence. Here’s how you can contribute to nursing science:

Submit Your Idea and Receive Support

To propose a new research initiative or evidence-based project, we invite nurses to submit ideas for consideration by filling out the Clinical Practice Inquiry Form. Those who reach out will receive feedback and tailored support to match individual needs to move forward.

Nurses with ideas for improving care practices within in their area are encouraged to submit ideas through shared governance and work with their local Team Council leadership.

Tell Us About Work You’ve Done

If you are a U of U Health nurse who presented a poster, spoke at a conference, or published an article this past year, we want to know about it! Please fill out the Nursing Science Dissemination form so we can learn about what you did and celebrate your accomplishments.

Participate in Nursing and Other Healthcare Conferences

Look for conferences throughout our organization and community that align with your clinical interests. For example, the Evidence-Based Practice & Wellness Champions Poster Fair is a great way to share project results with the UHealth community.  

In embracing the science of nursing at U of U Health, we recognize that every nurse contributes to a cycle of discovery, implementation, and continuous improvement. From asking crucial clinical questions to sharing innovative ideas and findings, our collective efforts drive excellence.


Scott S. Christensen, PhD, MBA, APRN, ACNP-BC

Sr. Nursing Director & Nurse Scientist, University of Utah Health

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest insights in health care impact, improvement, leadership, resilience, and more.