The Benefits and Challenges of Multisite Studies

Lessons Learned

Multisite studies provide large, diverse samples with sufficient statistical power to detect significant associations between nursing systems, care processes and outcomes. The findings are more generalizable than studies in a single institution and, therefore, more likely to influence nursing practice and policies. Multisite studies, however, present a number of challenges, including establishing trust and collaboration among participating institutions, assuring data integrity, and reaching consensus regarding authorship and dissemination of findings.

In this article, the researchers provide the example of six lessons learned from a nursing-led multisite study on non-intercepted medication errors in 14 acute care hospitals.

Key Findings:

  • Engage hospital nurse leaders early in the process to harness the power of collaboration.
  • Coordinate through an epicenter such as a nursing workforce center.
  • Be prepared for the varied requirements of institutional review boards.
  • Designate an on-site study coordinator for each site.
  • Develop written guidelines and hold regular meetings of the research team, on-site coordinators and other members of the research collaborative.
  • Translate the findings into practice and policy.

With well-designed and properly implemented multisite studies, nursing has the opportunity to produce meaningful evidence garnered from broad samples and differing practice conditions.