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University of Colorado College of Nursing

College of Nursing
Anschutz Medical Campus

About the CRNS

Summary of Activities

The mission of the CRNS is to share scientific skills that promote research at the College of Nursing as well as provide our technical skills and expertise to CCNR, with research methods and statistics foci. Services offered by the CRNS include consultation, teaching support for methodology courses, educational programs for students, faculty, and nursing researchers in the community, and maintenance of the college’s research reference library, equipment, and computer lab. Read more about the CRNS's activities below.

​The CRNS Director (1 FTE) as well as the CRNS RAs (total of 1 FTE) provided a total of 379 consultations—amounting to 701 hours of consultation time—to the College of Nursing faculty and students between the beginning of August 2013 and the end of April 2014. Consultations included analysis plan creation, grant submission assistance, statistical analysis, data management, data transcription, review of DNP and PhD methods and analysis, power analysis, database design, online survey construction and administration, one–on-one SPSS tutorials, WIN poster submission assistance, and student classroom-project assistance.  

CRNS Consultation Activities have 4 primary categories:

DNP Capstone assistance

  • 127 individual consultations (126 hours)
  • Shortest consultation, 20 minutes; longest, 4 hours
  • 42 DNP students assisted (Twenty-three 2014 graduates, nineteen from class of 2015)
  • Topics included analysis plan assistance, statistical analysis assistance, protocol review, and power analysis

PhD Dissertation assistance

  • 40 consultations (65 hours)
  • Shortest consultation, 25 minutes; longest, 6 hours 
  • 11 PhD students assisted (Five 2014 graduates)
  • Topics included methods and analysis assistance, statistical analysis assistance, dissertation proposal defense assistance, and power analysis.

Faculty project assistance

  • 130 Consultations (299 hours)
  • Shortest consultation, 15 minutes; longest, 7 hours
  • 19 College of Nursing faculty members assisted (most received roughly 5 consultations; one received more than 20)
  • Topics included grant proposal methods and analysis assistance, statistical analysis, data management, class support, paper and online survey development and   implementation, and power analysis

Other student project assistance

  • 33 Consultations (52 hours)
  • Shortest consultation, 20 minutes; longest, 4 hours
  • 26 students and/or student groups assisted
  • 2 faculty members/lectures assisted with their classwork/students
  • Topics included article-critique help, PICO project help, SPSS tutorials, power analysis, proposal development, and online-survey development

​CRNS Director Dr. Oli Dziadkowiec has made statistical and methodological training a top priority. By inculcating research skills, or by strengthening existing skills, Dr. Dziadkowiec is contributing strongly to a research-savvy academic population—both within the College of Nursing and without. In so doing, he is training up a series of cohorts who, in turn, will be able themselves to go out and train. 

Education-related Highlights 

  • "Introduction to Statistics for Clinicians." Workshop, 2014 Rocky Mountain Evidence-based Practice Conference
  • "Ask a Statistician" booth, 2014 Rocky Mountain Evidence-based Practice Conference
  • "Social Network Analysis." Presentation, 2013 College of Nursing Research Retreat
  • "Social Network Analysis." Presentation, 2014 Mountain Plains AIDS Education and Training Center Steering Committee Meeting 

​The CRNS became the locus of statistical analysis for the Colorado Collaborative for Nursing Research (CCNR). In this role, we supported existing hospital-based nurse-researcher partners as well as participated in meetings with potential CCNR partners. CRNS Director Dr. Oli Dziadkowiec has been serving as the primary analyst for all CCNR external stakeholders, and in particular, University of Colorado Hospital and Children’s Hospital Colorado.

CCNR-related Assistance Highlights

  • 44 consultations (129 hours)
  • Shortest consultation, 15 minutes; longest, 8 hours.
  • 9 nurse researchers assisted
  • Topics included data analysis, grant-writing support, power analysis, potential partner recruitment, and report preparation.

As the CRNS grows and develops, we would like to highlight some of our accomplishments:

Accomplishment #1: Handling the CRNS Director Transition

Last year’s ORS Annual Report discussed the decision to launch a two-part expansion of the CRNS Director role. First, the CRNS management portion of the role was increased from 30% FTE to 50% FTE, providing the Director with more time to work directly with students and support graduate RAs’ work. Second, the CRNS Director role was enhanced to include a second 50% FTE commitment for the new Colorado Collaborative for Nursing Research (CCNR). These changes allowed the CRNS to provide more individual consultation help to CON DNP and PhD students. In fact, according to data from the CRNS’s new tracking system, the CRNS Director and the new CRNS RAs assisted all but one of the DNP 2014 and 2015  classes in their capstone projects. In addition, the CRNS director has consulted with 11 PhD students regarding dissertation study design and analysis. Most of the students received more than two consultations. Furthermore, the additional 50% FTE allowed the CRNS Director and one of the RAs to work with 9 hospital-based nurse researchers on several hospital-based projects and assist new research-intensive faculty members in starting their research programs.

Accomplishment #2: Establishing a New CRNS Consultation Tracking System

To better evaluate staffing needs, improve appointment scheduling, and track projects, a new tracking system was implemented with assistance from new CCNR Coordinator Mariama Sannoh. The tracking system has three components: (a) Basecamp© collaboration platform, (b) Harvest© online time-tracking software, and (c) TimeTrade© an online scheduling system. Basecamp allows the CRNS Director and CRNS RAs to keep better track of CON and CCNR projects; it also allows our partners to stay updated on project progress. Harvest keeps track of time invested in all projects, letting us make projections about which future projects will be most time-consuming, anticipate staffing needs, and provide accurate invoices for CCNR contracts. TimeTrade lets CON students and faculty schedule appointments with CRNS RAs based on the RAs’ current availability. It also helps the CRNS Director distribute workload evenly among RAs. Although the implementation of the system went smoother than anticipated, we are still exploring the full capability of these three applications and will make changes based on feedback from our collaborators.

Accomplishment #3: Working with Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Other Large Database Projects

The CRNS, College of Nursing Associate Dean of Research Karen Sousa, and three new CON faculty—Drs. Mustafa Ozkaynak, Blaine Reeder, and John Welton—have been exploring opportunities to use EHRs in the areas of (a) Symptom Management, (b) Workflow, (d) 30-day readmission, and (d) nursing care cost. The CRNS Director and RAs have been processing EHR datasets for multiple workflow related projects. Among the products of this work will be a paper on EHR data management (which will be submitted to Nursing Research) and workflow-related articles in collaboration with Dr. Ozkaynak. In addition, the CRNS Director will serve as Capstone supervisor of for one of the CRNS RAs: they plan on developing an R statistical package based on the EHR data management paper currently underway, a package that will allow nurse researchers, as well as other researchers, to use a theory-based data cleaning and screening framework to prepare EHR data for analysis.

Accomplishment #4: Use of Novel Nursing Research Methods

The CRNS director has used his previous work in the area of Social Network Analysis to deliver two presentations on this topic and is currently collaborating on a Social Network Analysis project with the previous CRNS Director (Dr. Cook) and a School of Medicine faculty member (Dr. Bradley-Springer). The project will be implemented in the  summer of 2014. In addition, the CRNS Director and Dr. Ozkaynak are implementing Hidden Markov Models (Dr. Dziadkowiec) and data visualization (Dr. Ozkaynak) to analyze time-series EHR data from pediatric and adult emergency rooms. This is not only  a novel use of these methods in Nursing Research but also a significant contribution to understanding and analyzing  workflow in emergency room settings (Dr. Ozkaynak’s research program). 

Accomplishment #5: New RA Training Resources and Recruitment Methods

In addition to previously outlined work duties, the CRNS staff (including Dr. Dziadkowiec) (a) meet monthly to discuss CRNS administration with Jason Weiss, Sarah Trimmer, and Mariama Sannoh from ORS and (b) continuously improve our DNP consultations through role play-based training and Q&A with the CRNS Director. In addition, all CRNS staff have been taking free statistics classes through Coursera© to stay up to date with new statistical methods and improve current statistical skills. 

Accomplishment #6: OSKJ Panel

In collaboration with ORS colleagues Jason Weiss, Sarah Trimmer, and Dr. Sousa, we have formed the OSKJ panel. The purpose of the panel is to improve the quality of the quality of products (grants, papers, posters, PowerPoint presentations, etc.) coming out of the CON. More information about the OSKJ panel can be found here.

Accomplishment #7: CRNS Renovation

CRNS is being renovated. We have (a) purchased new high-speed/high-capacity computers, (b) reduced cubicle space and replaced it with more meeting-friendly furniture, and (c) installed transparent dry-eraser boards. We anticipate renovating the floor as well as further decorating the walls to make the room a more desirable meeting space for our external partners and our College of Nursing colleagues.