Editorial: From Knowledge Users to Knowledge Creators

CLPNA President Jo-Anne Macdonald-Watson (left) and Executive Director Linda L. Stanger
CLPNA President Jo-Anne Macdonald-Watson (left) and Executive Director Linda L. Stanger

Every day as nurses interact with patients and families, their decisions are informed by empirical evidence derived from research, supported by the wisdom of their experience and practice-based knowledge. Indeed, the hallmark of most professions is their foundation on a body of empirical knowledge that is unique to each profession. Equally important is the need for professions to be creators of new knowledge through active involvement in research and applying evidence to their practice.

Increasing research engagement

Considering these concepts and the future of healthcare, the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) is increasing our focus on research. We have a strong commitment to engaging in research that is focused on the role of the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), their place in the healthcare team, and the quality of their professional practice.

Over the past decade, we have partnered with colleges, universities, professional associations and employers in an attempt to include an LPN lens in healthcare and nursing research. We have commissioned respected researchers to conduct research on our behalf, we offered professional development opportunities related to research, published relevant research-based articles in our CARE magazine and hosted research sessions at the CLPNA conferences.


All these were deliberate steps in the transition from being knowledge users to knowledge creators. And we believe now is the time to embark upon a larger role in this important direction.

New Director of Research leading plan

In October 2015, we welcome a new role within the college for a Director of Research. The Research Director will lead the development of research capacity within our membership, and develop a research and knowledge integration plan that will inform our practice, our policies, and our place in the healthcare system.

Empowering Licensed Practical Nurses

The lack of research within the profession is often a barrier to innovative or creative changes in practice. We know that Licensed Practical Nurses have a wealth of nursing knowledge, some very unique to our profession. We see an opportunity for LPNs to step forward and showcase evidence-based practice by implementing best practices at all levels of care.

To do this, we plan to foster a culture of research by guiding the advancement of LPN skill in asking critical questions, proposing and integrating new research evidence, and generally creating an attitude and culture of curiosity within the profession.

This work will empower Alberta LPNs. The CLPNA will work closely with our members as key stakeholders throughout the research process.

This is a big step forward in our development as a profession. We have the potential to transform from knowledge users to knowledge creators – a major accomplishment in the professionalization of Licensed Practical Nurses.

We invite all LPNs to embrace a greater emphasis on research to prepare for a new tomorrow and we look forward to your engagement in the process.

by Jo-Anne Macdonald-Watson, President and Linda Stanger, Executive Director.

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