Canadian Institute for Research on Nursing and Caregiving

by Katharyn May | Oct 01, 1999

Summary

The related practices of nursing and caregiving are of great importance to the health and wellbeing of many Canadians. Nursing and caregiving research has not achieved suitable recognition on the Canadian scene because there has been no visible place for it in the national health research infrastructure. The goals of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research can not be realized without a vibrant and productive research community engaged in the study of problems central to the domains of nursing and caregiving.

Caregiving is practiced by disciplines such as nursing (the largest health care discipline), family medicine, physical, occupational and hearing/speech therapy, social work, midwifery and clinical psychology -- disciplines which share responsibility for humane and supportive care during health and illness. Their common scientific interest, which might be called “the science of caring”, requires an orientation toward both the social-behavioral and the life sciences. Both major scientific perspectives must be brought to bear in understanding the human experience of health and illness, and in developing and testing effective and efficient approaches to enhancing human health.

The current CIHR sector model should be revised to include a new sector of ‘basic human research’. This change would result in three basic fields (biomedical, basic human research and society, culture and health) in balanced and dynamic interaction with each other and with the two applied fields of research (applied clinical research and health systems research), thus avoiding the appearance that basic biomedical research is the only form of basic science in the CIHR.

The creation of a Canadian Institute for Research on Nursing and Caregiving exemplifies the spirit of innovation and transformation of the CIHR -- by making visible its commitment to the improvement of nursing and caregiving practice.