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The Research Mentor Program

Selection and Skills Development

The PNSO selects ‘Research Mentors' to become peer leaders in the Nursing Research Program.  Each year, the application process for becoming a new Research Mentor is quite competitive, and support by applicants' Nurse Managers and Administrators is required.

All clinicians interested in becoming a Research Mentor may apply at any time and should contact pnso@virginia.edu for more information. 

While the program was originally designed to target bedside clinicians, increasing demand from advanced practice clinicians to develop outcomes-improvement projects inspired the program director to also start creating "Research Mentor Pairs" of APNs and bedside nurses.

Of critical importance is the ability of Research Mentors to adapt research methods to methods appropriate to clinical settings. The Program Director guides the development of the Mentors' knowledge and skills, using a combination of formal educational sessions and individual coaching throughout each research project.

Background on the Nursing Research Mentor Program

In September of 2004, PNSO leadership developed a strategic plan to advance nursing practice and professionalism through the implementation of a unit-based nursing research program.  The main current goals of the program for 2016-2020 include:

  • foster a nursing culture of clinical inquiry that supports the advancement of nursing science in alignment with institutional goals across all settings
  • expand the infrastructure to support the evaluation and growth of nursing research across the Health System
  • promote the dissemination of new knowledge internally and externally through presentation and publication
  • formally recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of nursing research teams
  • sustain and nurture Magnet New Knowledge sources of evidence to maintain Magnet Recognition.

 The critical elements of the PNSO research model include:

  • active clinician involvement and ownership: team-oriented research projects, led by clinician researchers (referred to as Research Mentors-RMs) who mentor and guide the unit-based research teams through the research process;
  • research projects which focus on clinical practice issues or problems of interest to practicing clinicians;
  • the ability of the RMs to adapt research methods and approaches commonly used when conducting academic research projects to appropriate methods for use in the clinical setting;
  • a program director who works closely to teach and guide the RMs “one-step-at-a-time” so that in turn they can lead their teams.

The Model In Action:

Research findings are shared with both internal and external professional audiences as appropriate; many have been accepted for presentation in professional nursing conferences or journals. All are shared in the PNSO's annual Evidence-Based Practice Symposium, at which UVA nurses consider the research findings' implications for changing our practice.


Making Data Work for Nursing

We are delighted to offer a complimentary online course for continuing education credit titled, "Making Data Work for Nursing: Using Nursing Research and Evidence-based Practice to Affect Nursing Outcomes".

This course brings you research and best practices about recovering medication errors thereby enhancing patient safety, a research mentorship program, and fiscal stewardship to improve nurse staffing.

Key Learning Outcomes:

  • Apply research about medical error recovery to your practice
  • Discover how to utilize mentors to foster nursing research
  • Utilize strategies to successfully acquire nursing resources

Click here for more information.

Thanks for Visiting!

Welcome to the Professional Nursing Staff Organization! All Registered Nurses employed by the UVA Health System's Medical Center, School of Nursing and School of Medicine are members of our Professional Nursing Staff Organization (PNSO). Please provide us feedback!

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Recent Research Mentor Publications

Recent publications by our Nursing Research Mentors are featured below.  We are so proud of the contributions to Evidence-based Practice through the work of our mentors!


Gilbert, R., Farish, N., Bergland, E., Conaway, M., Hance, J., Ketcham, S., Letzkus, L., Manz, M., Podgorski, K., Quatrara, B., Ryman, R. & Spry, A. (2016). The use of short term acupressure to prevent long-term PONV: Was this a case of too little, too late?. Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing . 1-8. Doi

Quatrara, B., Turner, M., Pitts, N., Parks, C., Murphy, F., & Conaway, M. (2016) What is the likelihood of Blood Return Using Aspiration Technique with Intramuscular Vaccine Administration?  Annals of Nursing and Practice. 3(5): 1-3 

Smit, I. Harrison, L.,  Letzkus, L.&  Quatrara, B. (2016) What factors are associated with the development of pressure ulcers in a medical intensive care unit?  Dimensions in Critical Care Nursing. 35(1)37-41.


Henley, N., Quatrara, B. & Conaway, M (2015) A Pilot Study:  Comparison of arm versus ankle noninvasive BP measurement at 2 different levels of backrest elevation.   Dimensions in Critical Care Nursing.  34(4) 232-235.