When exploring the impact of research, consider what it would be like if the automotive industry ceased all investigative efforts. The cars we drive would likely never improve in safety, comfort or efficiency, and we would never know the benefits of the advancements we often take for granted. The same is true for the health sciences. Without research, advancements that have improved some lives and saved others may not have come to pass.
For universities, the research component allows for a broader educational experience whereby students are able to explore the effects of applying new thought processes through study and testing. Students are able to use that experience to see the practical application of their classroom experience represented in research projects. Cleveland University-Kansas City (CU-KC) for example, offers a challenging curriculum, but also the opportunity to participate in various research studies on campus.
Dr. Mark Pfefer, director of research at CU-KC, collaborates with Cleveland students on a variety of projects. He said students have the opportunity to take an active role in research projects, while at the same time learning about proper investigative techniques.
“We’ve had numerous students participate as co-authors on recent publications and presentations,” Pfefer said. “Students are taught strategies to search for information and to assess the quality of the information found. Students learn good critical appraisal skills; all information is not the same, some information is good and some is not.”
Pfefer said that students interested in research are mentored by faculty, and assist in a variety of ways, including literature searching, data collection, data entry and manuscript development. The collective work between students and administrators has proven to be a successful combination and he looks forward to the continuation of these efforts in future studies.
While time in the classroom is invaluable, having access to an on-site research department means that students are able to grow and challenge the boundaries that were established by their predecessors in the field. They are encouraged to open their minds and be open to the possibilities that research can reveal. Ultimately, they can become better health care professionals by engaging in work outside the classroom that challenges them in a similar fashion.
This will also impact their future in their chosen profession by putting them in the position to attach their name to efforts that may have reshaped the parameters that were once the norm. Research can light the fire of curiosity that will continue throughout a professional career, and there is no end to what can be learned.
At Cleveland, those are the exhilarating breakthroughs that research can deliver. It educates our students personally by opening their eyes to new possibilities. It rewards them professionally by getting their name out into the research community before they’ve even graduated. Most importantly, it’s a powerful part of the educational experience at CU-KC and one we are proud to share with our students.