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Use these tips to apply for DAISY grants

If you're ready to do research, applying for grants is a good place to start
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By Karen Schmidt, RN
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In its pursuit to make a significant impact on the treatment of patients with autoimmune diseases and cancer, The DAISY Foundation makes its J. Patrick Barnes Grants funding opportunity open to all nurses, including bedside nurses who may have never considered doing research.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Karen Schmidt, RN, is a freelance writer.
We will fund studies and projects that represent good science, will impact patients and their families in a direct way, and have potential outside one's own institution.”
— Bonnie Barnes, FAAN

2.

Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, DAISY co-founder and president, and Elizabeth Bridges, PhD, RN, CCNS, FCCM, FAAN, a faculty member and clinical nurse researcher at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle who leads The DAISY Foundation’s grant panel of reviewers, shared insider tips and ideas on how nurses can successfully propose a research project and procure funding via the foundation.

1.

First of all, get a mentor, Barnes recommended. “We encourage young nurses, staff nurses, experienced and novice researchers to explore our grant program,” Barnes said. “And we strongly suggest that nurse applicants find an experienced researcher.” Find one at your own facility or at an academic center nearby, she said. Other possibilities, Bridges said, are to “reach back to one’s own school of nursing and previous faculty.” She said individuals who are biostatisticians or who work in quality improvement also could capably mentor in the research process. “It’s not expected that a direct care nurse would know how to pull a research proposal together,” she said. “We want good science so we get good outcomes, so experience counts.”

3.

Keep the clinical nurse role central to the process, Bridges said. It is imperative that nurse clinicians — whether staff nurses, clinical nurse specialists or APNs — play a meaningful role in the study or project from conceptualization, data collection and analysis to reporting. Applicants need to describe the role of staff nurses both in the letter of intent and the application to ensure this program enhances the research and EBP knowledge and experience of clinical nurses.

4.

The focus of the research is critical, Barnes said. It must impact patients or family members of patients with an auto-immune disease or cancer. As the website describes, “while [the foundation] recognizes the vital importance of caring for nurses in improving outcomes for patients, our grants are exclusively for studies or evidence-based practice projects that directly benefit patients and/or their families.”

5.

Barnes recommends applicants be as specific as possible in their application. “Reviewers are looking for details as to exactly what the methodology will be in running the program,” she said. “They’re looking to be sure that someone is capable of completing a research study, so demonstrate how you will successfully complete the project.”

Bridges added that from the letter of intent and through the application, nurses must have very clear aims, being certain to clearly outline how they will evaluate outcomes.

6.

Know that projects can be funded only if approved by an institutional review board at your facility, Barnes said. (If your project is exempt, provide written evidence.) Applicants must submit a copy of their IRB approval on IRB letterhead and with an appropriate signature before funding of the grant; however, applicants can be working on their application while IRB approval is pending.

7.

When the response to one’s letter of intent is received, be sure to take suggestions seriously and implement the ideas provided. Bridges said this stage of the process is crucial. Once applicants have received the response for the letter of intent, “they will know pretty much what we are looking for. We provide them very specific feedback about what their grant application needs.”

8.

Be prepared to launch the study as soon as approval is received. According to the website, “This is one reason why our application requires [nurses] provide evidence of permission to use the tools [they] propose.” Bridges said completion of the projects should be attainable within a year of the start of the research.
Finally, said Barnes, have courage! “We have a very gentle approach to this process,” she said. “We don’t fund everything that's applied for, but every nurse finds that there is great insight gained from the reviews for how to make their application stronger. We believe every application should be a learning experience.”

9.

Bridges and Barnes encourage nurses from novice to nurse scientist to submit applications for funding. The application is quite streamlined, and shorter than many research applications. Applicants receive much help and gain much experience through the process. “We will fund studies and projects that represent good science, will impact patients and their families in a direct way, and have potential outside one's own institution,” Barnes said.
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