Interview with Jerome Stone: Author of Minding the Bedside

Interview with Jerome Stone, November 19, 2013 What would you tell nurses who are interested in the field of Nursing Research?

Jerome Stone: Research is a fascinating field. Aside from hospice work, research has been my favorite thing to do. I think one . . . let me talk about just some of the excitement about research first. The wonderful thing about research, it allows you to pose a question and then go find out. You can make an assumption or you can have an idea, and then you can find out if it's true, or you can at least apply methodology to exploring it to see if it's true. You may have a hunch about the way a patient's reacting to treatment or about the physiology around stress. You can say, "Maybe there's a way to deal with this stress. Maybe there's a way to combat this stress." For instance in research into meditation, that's what a lot of the researchers do. I think any nurse who's interested in going to research, I say go for it. What kind of nursing background should an aspiring Nurse Researcher have?

Jerome Stone: I think one thing that's really important, though; get a good base in clinical skills first. Any research that you do . . . I don't want to say any research because you can do drug research where it's pretty much very much focusing on the drug, and then it's in the patient population; but it's going to require you to have a really good basis of knowledge in physiology, basis of knowledge in the workings of the body. In my case, what I studied, the working of the body and the mind. Definitely, I think it's worth pursuing.

Jerome Stone: Do it in something maybe that excites you. If you have a particular interest in cancer, in cardiac disease, or in pediatrics; then find something about that that may interest you. I think one thing that's important to realize is that you have to be around a university setting or at least a research setting, because small hospitals, I've tried it before; small hospitals aren't setup to be able to do research. It doesn't really work as well. If you are around a large academic center or a teaching hospital, get involved in research projects and read on research. Actually, one of the best ways to do it is find something you're interested in, go to PubMed, Ovid; some of the other sources of great research data and read up on it and explore it. It's a great field. What types of research have you been involved in?

Jerome Stone: I've been lucky because what I've researched was actually a little bit more on the esoteric bend; it was on mind-body medicine. Actually, I did one that was looking at research on non-local healing, on healing at a distance, which is really far out there. The funny thing is this was funded by the NIH. We got a $2 million grant to look at the effects of distant healing, or non-local healing and a prayer, on people with HIV and AIDS. That was a chance to look at some really far-out stuff, but do it within the realm of research. Then I also co-principle investigated a study looking at teaching partners of cancer patients compassion.

Jerome Stone: I designed the whole program in compassion and I taught it to these partners. We wanted to see if the patients had better outcomes if their partners learned how to be compassionate. There's a lot of things you can do in research; it's wide open. If you have any inkling, I would say, I would definitely suggest, check it out, read up on it a little bit, and if it interests you, go for it.