Nurse Journal Clubs

Have you ever had the experience of being incredibly bored or confused while reading a nursing journal? If you took a statistics class decades ago, does some of the research results look like a foreign language? Do you sometimes wish you could ask a nurse colleague for their opinion about what you’re trying to read? Are you interested in evidence-based nursing practice and need others to discuss the latest findings with? There’s a great way to make the whole process easier, and that’s a nurse journal club.

Form a Journal Club

Whether you form a journal club with or without the sanction and support of your employer is up to you. A forward-thinking employer should be thrilled at the notion of nurses getting together to explore the latest evidence-based research; however, you should be realistic that most employers will unfortunately shy away from wanting to pay a group of nurses for getting together to talk, even if it’s for the benefit of the institution and its patients.

You can choose to approach your CNO, DON, or nurse manager for permission to meet on paid time, or you can meet outside of work or over a meal break during a shift. There is also the option of each club member reading an assigned journal article and using an online shared document to take notes to share with other members. Another idea would be an open or closed group on Facebook or LinkedIn, where articles are posted, comments are made, and group  members interact with one another.

If your facility or institution has an evidence-based practice committee or related group, a journal club could be a no-brainer since it directly brings evidence-based research to clinicians who need that information most in order to take their practice to the next level.

Collective Brain Power

There’s certainly strength in numbers, and there’s also significant brain power in numbers, as well. When you meet with others—whether in person or electronically—you can tap the collective genius of the group in powerful ways. If those statistics are beyond you, chances are another member of the group will have much more facility with dissecting what those numbers really mean. Meanwhile, others may have insight into the quality of the research, or whether what is being presented is actually applicable to the way that nursing care is practiced in your workplace.

Reading academic research studies can be a dry experience, and picking apart a research study or nursing journal article along with your colleagues can be much more fun and rewarding.

Use the Evidence

Peer-reviewed journals are one of the best sources of timely updates on the latest thinking and research in medicine and nursing. If you have interest in evidence-based practice and would like some company exploring the latest literature, a journal club–whether it meets in person or online–is a great vehicle for tapping the collective genius of your nurse colleagues.


About Keith

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Keith Carlson is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist.

With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers.

Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on many social media platforms, as well as at NurseKeith.com.