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Region’s 1st nursing-focused research centre opens

WATCH ABOVE: Atlantic Canada's first nursing-focused research centre officially opened on Tuesday. The Centre for Transformative Nursing and Health Research will allow researchers in Halifax and across the world to collaborate on projects. Julia Wong reports.

HALIFAX – Atlantic Canada’s first nursing research centre officially opened in Halifax on Tuesday, and researchers said they are excited for the opportunities it will create for academic studies as well as the effects it will have on care for local families.

The Centre for Transformative Nursing and Health Research at Dalhousie University has been four years in the making.

The Centre for Transformative Nursing and Health Research held an official opening on Tuesday.
The Centre for Transformative Nursing and Health Research held an official opening on Tuesday. Julia Wong/Global News

The centre does not have a physical space; rather it is a virtual space where researchers in Halifax, across the country and from around the world can collaborate. It will allow academics to work in conjunction with community groups, researchers and families.

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Centre director Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy said that collaboration will change the dynamic of local nursing research.

“It helps us strengthen our ability to work across networks. It’s individuals working on teams and teams working in centres and larger networks,” she said.

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“It’s actually building networks and by building networks, it actually helps to leverage more research. It helps us to understand how to share the information and the evidence we have today as a result of the research.”

Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo, a clinical scientist at the IWK, is a collaborator at the centre. She is researching the benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and premature babies, and her findings have changed the type of care given to premature babies in the neo-natal intensive unit.

Two moms spend time with their preemie babies.
Two moms spend time with their preemie babies. Julia Wong/Global News
“If [the babies] are held during painful procedures such as intravenous insertion and blood collections, these moms are able to ensure their babies feel less pain and not only feel less pain during the procedure but actually help them recover faster,” she said.
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Campbell-Yeo said her research also shows the babies’ heart rates are more stable, the level of oxygen are in their bloodstream is higher and there is less stress associated with everyday routine medical procedures.

The researcher, who is working on another study related to how long-lasting the benefits are, said the collaboration allowed for within the centre allows studies to be transferred to clinical practice sooner.

“We want to make changes and we’ve already seen huge changes here in how we provide care at the NICU at the IWK in improving balance between technology and human touch to improve outcomes for moms and babies,” she said.

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Other research projects taking place within the centre include how Aboriginal children express pain and how to better provide care to those patients as well as how to improve communication with parents after children are discharged from the emergency room.