Nursing Education Research Groups in Brazil

Vânia Marli Schubert Backes Marta Lenise do Prado Mônica Motta Lino Fabiane Ferraz Kenya Schmidt Reibnitz Bruna Pedroso Canever About the authors

Abstracts

O estudo tem por objetivo caracterizar os Grupos de Pesquisa em Educação em Enfermagem do Brasil quanto à sua organização. Pesquisa documental, descritiva, quantitativa. As informações foram coletadas no Banco de Dados e Estatísticas do Portal Online do CNPq - censo 2006. O Brasil possui 47 Grupos de Pesquisa em Educação em Enfermagem, com 412 pesquisadores, dos quais 91% apresentam título de mestrado, doutorado ou pós-doutorado. Dos 307 estudantes, 92% são graduandos de Enfermagem, porém apenas 9% são bolsistas de iniciação científica. Entre os 112 técnicos, 75% são de Enfermagem, 46% possuem titulação de mestre ou doutor. Há um número expressivo de Grupos que contribuem significativamente para a produção de conhecimento no setor de educação, em nível latino-americano. Todavia, ainda são muitos os desafios a serem superados como a frágil interdisciplinaridade, a limitada integração ensino-serviço, o baixo fomento de bolsas de iniciação científica e as significativas desigualdades no acesso e desenvolvimento de pesquisas nas diferentes regiões do país.

Grupos de pesquisa; Educação em enfermagem; Pesquisa em educação de enfermagem


Estudio que objetiva caracterizar los Grupos de Investigación de Educación en Enfermería de Brasil respecto de su organización. Investigación documental, descriptiva, cuantitativa. Informaciones recolectadas en Banco de Datos y Estadísticas, Portal Online del CNPq-censo 2006. Brasil posee 47 Grupos de Investigación de Educación en Enfermería, con 412 investigadores, de los que 91% ostenta títulos de maestría, doctorado o post-doctorado. De los 307 estudiantes, 92% es alumno de Enfermería, sin embargo apenas 9% es becado para iniciación científica. Entre los 112 técnicos, 75% es de Enfermería, 46% poseen título de maestría o doctorado. Existe un número importante de Grupos que contribuye significativamente en producción de conocimiento del sector educativo, a nivel latinoamericano. Igualmente, hay muchos desafíos a superar, como la frágil interdisciplinaridad, la limitada integración enseñanza-servicio, el bajo fomento de becas de iniciación científica y las significativas desigualdades en acceso y desarrollo de investigaciones en las diferentes regiones geográficas del país.

Grupos de investigación; Educación en enfermería; Investigación en educación de enfermería


The aim of this study is to characterize the organization of nursing education research groups in Brazil. This is a quantitative, descriptive and documentary study. Census data for 2006 were collected from the CNPq database website. Brazil has 47 education research groups, comprised of 412 researchers, of whom 91% have masters, doctoral or postdoctoral degrees. There are 307 students, of whom 92% are nursing undergraduates. However, only 9% are recipients of young investigator grants. There are also 112 technicians, of whom 75% are nursing professionals; 46% have a masters or doctoral degree. In Brazil, there are a considerable number of nursing education research groups, which contribute significantly to scientific production of nursing knowledge in Latin America. In this scenario, there are many challenges to be overcome: poor interdisciplinary cooperation; limited integration between education and practice; low number of grants awarded to young investigators and significant inequalities between the country's geographic regions in terms of access to research development.

Research groups; Education; Nursing education research


ARTIGO ORIGINAL

Nursing Education Research Groups in Brazil*

Grupos de Investigación de Educación en Enfermería de Brasil

Vânia Marli Schubert BackesI; Marta Lenise do PradoII; Mônica Motta LinoIII; Fabiane FerrazIV; Kenya Schmidt ReibnitzV; Bruna Pedroso CaneverVI

IPhD in Nursing. Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Nursing Department, Nursing Graduate Program. Director of the Research Group in Nursing and Health Education. Researcher on the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). Florianópolis, SC, Brazil. oivania@ccs.ufsc.br

IIPhD in Nursing. Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Nursing Department, Nursing Graduate Program. Deputy-Director of the Research Group in Nursing and Health Education. Researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). Florianópolis, SC, Brazil. mpradop@ccs.ufsc.br

IIIMSc in Nursing. Doctoral Student, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Nursing Graduate Program. Research fellow for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES). Member of the Research Group in Nursing and Health Education. Florianópolis, SC, Brasil. monicafloripa@hotmail.com

IVPhD in Nursing. Member of the Research Group in Nursing Education. Criciúma, SC, Brazil. olaferraz@yahoo.com.br

VPhD in Nursing. Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Nursing Department, Nursing Graduate Program. Coordinator of the Center for Health Sciences at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. Member of the Research Group in Nursing Education. Florianópolis, SC, Brazil. kenya@ccs.ufsc.br

VIMSc in Nursing. Doctoral Student. Master's Student in Nursing. Federal University of Santa Catarina, Nursing Graduate Program. CNPq research fellow. Member of the Research Group of Nursing and Health Education. . Florianópolis, SC, Brazil. olabruna@gmail.com

Correspondence addressed

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study is to characterize the organization of nursing education research groups in Brazil. This is a quantitative, descriptive and documentary study. Census data for 2006 were collected from the CNPq database website. Brazil has 47 education research groups, comprised of 412 researchers, of whom 91% have masters, doctoral or postdoctoral degrees. There are 307 students, of whom 92% are nursing undergraduates. However, only 9% are recipients of young investigator grants. There are also 112 technicians, of whom 75% are nursing professionals; 46% have a masters or doctoral degree. In Brazil, there are a considerable number of nursing education research groups, which contribute significantly to scientific production of nursing knowledge in Latin America. In this scenario, there are many challenges to be overcome: poor interdisciplinary cooperation; limited integration between education and practice; low number of grants awarded to young investigators and significant inequalities between the country's geographic regions in terms of access to research development.

Descriptors: Research groups; Education, nursing; Nursing education research

RESUMEN

Estudio que objetiva caracterizar los Grupos de Investigación de Educación en Enfermería de Brasil respecto de su organización. Investigación documental, descriptiva, cuantitativa. Informaciones recolectadas en Banco de Datos y Estadísticas, Portal Online del CNPq-censo 2006. Brasil posee 47 Grupos de Investigación de Educación en Enfermería, con 412 investigadores, de los que 91% ostenta títulos de maestría, doctorado o post-doctorado. De los 307 estudiantes, 92% es alumno de Enfermería, sin embargo apenas 9% es becado para iniciación científica. Entre los 112 técnicos, 75% es de Enfermería, 46% poseen título de maestría o doctorado. Existe un número importante de Grupos que contribuye significativamente en producción de conocimiento del sector educativo, a nivel latinoamericano. Igualmente, hay muchos desafíos a superar, como la frágil interdisciplinaridad, la limitada integración enseñanza-servicio, el bajo fomento de becas de iniciación científica y las significativas desigualdades en acceso y desarrollo de investigaciones en las diferentes regiones geográficas del país.

Descriptores: Grupos de investigación; Educación en enfermería; Investigación en educación de enfermería

INTRODUCTION

Nursing research has achieved important advancements worldwide despite considerable differences among countries and continents, especially in relation to research in the field of Education and Nursing(1). In this context, the panorama of Science and Technology in Nursing in Latin America has been strengthened through government agencies created with the purpose to encourage and boost the production, dissemination and transference of new knowledge, while Brazilian leadership is acknowledged in the Latin American context(2-4).

Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia are identified as the Latin-American countries with the greatest experience in the field due to research organized through Research Groups, lines of research and research centers, as well as the establishment of networks of information available in the internet. This production, in turn, is directly related to university education, especially Stricto Sensu Graduate Programs that promote the education of critical-reflective thinkers qualified to produce new knowledge(2,5).

The nursing field has been rethinking the way it does, researches and educates concerning nursing, which reflects on advancements and changes in the curricular development of undergraduate and graduate programs. The new pedagogical tendencies and innovations produced within academia linked to scientific and technological development produced by research groups has made contributions and is also a result of different processes of scientific production in the field of Nursing Education in Brazil.

The Nursing field has historically presented a predominance of non-professional practices. The discussion around the so-called educational and scientific explosion in Nursing in the last 20 years in Latin America has indicated advancements to strengthen the understanding of Nursing as a workforce and a producer of knowledge(4), as in other countries, especially as the North America. Considering that education should be intrinsic to the work process and this process of rationalization of knowledge is a precedent to the professionalization of any human activity, we believe that strengthening Nursing can occur through the evolution of science and education, thus, it is essential that Latin American nursing researchers and educators promote the development of nursing science and education given the social demands met by the sector(2).

Brazilian Nursing researchers have organized research groups based on guidance provided by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) to boost scientific development and manage the production of knowledge, consolidating its scientific basis. It is worth noting that the Research Group (RG) in the CNPq directory of research groups in Brazil is defined as a collection of hierarchically organized individuals whose organizing foundation of hierarchy is experience, prominence and leadership in a scientific or technological field, in which there is professional and continuing involvement with research activities in which work is organized around common lines of research, with installations and equipment being shared to some degree(6).

Therefore, in the field of Nursing, more specifically in the field of Nursing Education in Brazil, Research Groups in Nursing Education (RGNE) have worked in partnership with Nursing Graduate Programs (NGP), the community and health services to provide education focused on the social context, on the construction and policies for professional development in the field and awakening a critical pedagogy through coping with complex everyday problems(7).

Brazilian Nursing Graduate Programs have developed largely in recent decades. Scientific research and graduate programs are co-dependents in the profession's development process since one is essential for the other to meet society's demands(4). While graduate programs encourage and direct research through research groups, the products, much more than mere numbers, evidence advancements and setbacks in the process of the knowledge construction of a given discipline. Hence, research groups have played an essential role in the construction of new theoretical-methodological approaches and contributed to the education and qualification of researchers who invest in the publication and dissemination of scientific knowledge and in the process of receiving investments coming from funding agencies supporting research. In other aspects, the growing and constant development of research groups has increased the direction and scope of knowledge production(8).

In this context, it is worth noting that research groups, especially those working with Nursing Education, are extremely relevant in the development process of Brazilian nursing because they conduct research that qualifies discussions concerning professional education, the creation and implementation of new educational technologies, continuing education processes, health care, the construction and investigation of policies, social programs and projects, among other factors that influence and strengthen critical interventions of professionals(7,9-11).

In line with the previous discussion, this study characterizes Research Groups in Nursing Education (RGNE) in Brazil in relation to their organization given the importance of knowing a group's context in order to overcome fragilities and encourage the development of policies and strengthening of research groups in this scope.

METHOD

This is a documentary, descriptive and quantitative study. Data were collected in the 2006 Census, available in the Database and Statistics hosted by the CNPq Online Portal(6), which specifically correspond to information concerning research groups in 2005 and 2006.

The following variables were selected: field of work, by state and by institution. Then the first variable was refined and the field of nursing was chosen. Hence, the system generated a table containing all the nursing research groups in Brazil in 2006. The Brazilian research groups in nursing education were chosen based on the words 'education', 'teaching' or 'training' in the name of the group.

To facilitate the organization of data, Microsoft Excel 2003® spreadsheets were developed divided by geographical regions, and the following elements were identified:

a) institutions and their intuitional nature;

b) the total number of research groups in the nursing field;

c) the specific number of research groups in nursing education whose inclusion criterion was the word 'education' or a synonymous term (teaching and training) included in the name of the group;

d) existence of Stricto Sensu Graduate Nursing Programs;

e) complete name, year of foundation, and acronym of the research group in nursing education;

f) number, background, degree and professional practice of researchers belonging to research groups in nursing education;

g) number, background, and degree of students belonging to nursing education research groups;

h) number of undergraduate research fellowships among undergraduate students;

i) number, background, degree and professional practice of technicians in nursing education research groups;

j) number of research fellowships granted for technical support among technicians;

k) number of researchers, students, and technicians with a degree in education in nursing education research groups.

Data concerning the research groups, names of the researchers, students and technicians were complemented with information provided online by the CNPq directory of research groups. In relation to the background, degree and degree in the field of education and professional practice, data were collected and organized in tables using Microsoft Word 2003® based on the consultation of all CNPq Lattes Curricula of researchers, students and technicians identified in the search on the groups directory. Data concerning the Stricto Sensu Graduate Nursing Programs were collected in the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) site, Brazil.

Since this is a documentary study the content of which derives from publicly available information, this study was not submitted to the Ethics Research Committee Concerning Research with Human Beings. However, it is worth noting that the study complied with all ethical precepts required for the analysis and dissemination of data in studies of this nature.

RESULTS

In 2006, Brazilian Graduate Programs were distributed in 80 Public Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and in 388 Private HEI. Census from 2006 published by CNPq revealed that there were 331 nursing research groups in Brazil distributed in 56 (Public HEI) and 25 (Private HEI) with Nursing Graduate Programs.

The total number of Research Groups in Nursing Education (RGNE) in Brazil was 47, that is, those as clarified in the methodology, which presented the word education, training or teaching in their names, distributed in 23 public HEI and 10 Private HEI as presented in Figure 1. Bearing in mind that there were a total of 331 nursing research groups, 14% work with the theme education in the entire country.


Considering the total HEI with nursing graduate programs in Brazil in 2006, we note that 28.7% of the Public HEI have research groups in nursing education while only 2.6% of private HEI have research groups in nursing education. In relation to the year the groups were created, two were founded in the 1980s, 15 in the 1990s and 30 from 2000 on.

Among the HEI with research groups in nursing education, 17 have Stricto Sensu graduate programs accredited by CAPES: 16 are public and one is private. Among the 25 graduate nursing programs identified up to 2006, seven were created in the 1970s, three in the 1980s, six in the 1990s and nine from 2000 on.

Figure 2 presents the distribution of research groups in nursing (RGN), research groups in nursing education (RGNE) and, respectively, researchers (R), students (S) and technicians (T) in the field of nursing in RGNE discriminated by region over all Brazil.


The South and Southeast of Brazil have 79% of the research groups in nursing as well as 83% of the research groups in nursing education that exist in the country in the studied period. Consequently, these regions host most of the researchers, students and technicians in the field of nursing compared to the remaining Brazilian regions.

Figure 3 presents the total number of researchers, students, and technicians in research groups in nursing and research groups in nursing education in Brazil in 2006.

Figure 3

It is worth noting that a consulting with the CNPq Lattes Curricula revealed that among researchers in research groups in nursing education, 377 are from the nursing field and only 33 are from other fields of knowledge such as psychology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physical education, medicine, social work, law, dentistry, production engineering, pharmacology, business administration, math, biological science and pedagogy, and two did not have a Lattes Curriculum. It is also possible to verify that 66% are professors, 5% exclusively work with care delivery, 28% work as professors and in care delivery, and 1% did not provide information.

In relation to students participating in research groups in nursing education, 283 are from the nursing field and 18 are from the fields of psychology, the social sciences, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physical education, medicine, social communication, education sciences, dentistry, nutrition, or accounting sciences, while six did not have a Lattes Curriculum.

In regard to the technicians participating in research groups in nursing education, 84 are from the field of nursing and 17 from other fields such as Computer science, liberal arts, history, nutrition, advertising, social work, psychology, medicine and 11 did not have a Lattes Curriculum. In relation to their professional practice, 20 technicians teach, 21 work in care delivery, 29 both work in care delivery and teach, 39 did not provide this information.

The degrees of the members of the research group in nursing education are presented in Table 1.

Therefore, the nursing education research groups in Brazil have 91% of their participants with master's degree, doctoral degrees or post doctorates. Among the total of researchers presented, 159 have a degree in the field of education, 9 have a doctoral degree in education, 48 have master's degree in education, and 102 are specialists in the field. In relation to the technicians, 52 attended stricto sensu programs while 28 are specialists, 27 have a bachelor's degree and 39 did not report their education.

The analysis of Lattes Curricula of the undergraduate students indicated that 28, or 9%, have an undergraduate research fellowship, the others voluntarily participate in the research groups in nursing education while 3 technicians have technical support fellowships.

DISCUSSION

Data presented in Figure 1 encapsulates the Latin American context since the greatest concentration of RGNE are in public HEI. Research groups within Brazilian nursing were created from the 1980s on parallel with the growth of graduate programs though the consolidation of these groups occurred based on the organizing and systematizing of CNPq(10). Hence, the importance of graduate programs in fostering the creation of research groups in nursing and the role of CNPq to consolidate these groups is apparent.

The number of RGNE in relation to the total number of Brazilian research groups in nursing shows a potential for the publication, transference and dissemination of knowledge related to the training of human resources in the field of nursing, which can contribute to the establishment of educational policies and new methodologies. Hence, educational processes in nursing can make a better understanding of the teaching process possible, as well as its importance in developing science and technology.

However, data presented in Figure 2 show intra-regional inequalities and imbalances since the South and Southeast stand out for having the greatest number of research groups both in nursing and in nursing education, which ratifies the consolidation of an asymmetric potential of scientists, research, and infrastructure in relation to the other Brazilian regions, an aspect brought out not only in relation to the publication of knowledge but also in terms of socioeconomic and cultural aspects in this country of continental proportions. This context shows the need to adopt policies that favor development and balance regional inequities given the inequality in the availability of graduate programs and quantity of qualified personnel, such as those with master's degrees and doctorates, especially in the North and Midwest(12).

The greatest challenge currently in Brazil related to schools training master's level and doctoral students in the field of nursing is the requirement that nurses teach at the undergraduate and graduate levels while managing, at the same time, scientific research and extension activities without ignoring the demands of academic publication on which the professorship system has been based.

Therefore, the publication of new knowledge and its effects on the constitutive structure of the workforce in nursing accelerates and qualifies the process of professionalization in the field, while the most challenging subjects include those in the pedagogical, political and economic areas(13). These challenges are integrated in a complex context, which requires the promotion of joint strategic alliances and agendas to plan the educational process and development of science and technology in nursing in Brazil and in the Latin America in order to overcome the fragility of the integration between teaching and practice within RGNE apparent given the prevalence of researchers who work exclusively with teaching(7).

Another aspect highlighted in this study is the limited, though important, participation of researchers from other fields in RGNE. The new frontiers science has faced indicate that specific knowledge is not sufficient to understand and address the complexity of studied phenomena. Hence, it is essential that disciplines are open to each other to enrich each other with new points of view and other perspectives. This process generates the possibility to associate knowledge as an alternative to overcome limits that science itself created in the specialized understanding of its objects(14).

If, on the one hand, inter-disciplinary work in RGNE is still incipient, on the other hand, the search for reasoning in the field of education by nursing professionals themselves may be an indication that graduate programs that awaken interest and are available in the region of researchers are being sought, even if not in the field of nursing. The fact that 38.6% of researchers have a specific degree in the field of education confers greater theoretical support to teaching, research and extension purposes. At the same time, the choice of the field of education shows commitment and the need to increase knowledge to implement scientific advancement in this field interfacing with nursing.

However, the still incipient inter-disciplinary cooperation, demonstrated by the low participation of professionals from other fields of knowledge and practice, represents a challenge to be overcome by RGNE. Inter-disciplinary cooperation means the involvement of different fields of knowledge, research and multi-disciplinary approaches, through which one envisages new perspectives to contribute to the understanding and solution of problems and production of relevant knowledge(15-16).

Additionally, inter-disciplinary studies support a process to address questions, solve problems or direct topics so broad or complex that a single disciplinary approach cannot understand or solve them, promoting the combination of knowledge from different specialties to shed new light on a real problem(17). This combination of disciplines adds value to the process and it is possible to perceive that the result obtained by this combination is more interesting than the sum of the individual contributions of each part.

The findings related to the degrees held by researchers confirm the prominence of doctors of education in the Brazilian panorama of nursing in Latin America, given the 20 years of experience in the field compared to other countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela, which began doctoral programs at the end of the 20th century and beginning of 21st century(2,5).

However, another area of fragility indicated by this study is related to the small numbers of research fellowships both granted to undergraduate students—the percentage of research fellowship in relation to the total number of undergraduate students participating in RGNE is very small— and in relation to the very small number of fellowships granted for technical support. Even though the insufficient number of fellowships granted by funding agencies to the education and institutional fixation of new researchers, in particular, for students and technicians, is not a problem exclusive to nursing, it is an important challenge to be overcome.

CONCLUSION

It is relevant to have an overview of the production of knowledge in the Brazilian fields of education and nursing, especially its limitations and challenges, since such knowledge can contribute to re-directing policies and practices in the political and social contexts at both the micro and macro levels. It is possible through these characterizations to establish policies and practices able to boost the reconstruction and consolidation of educational processes in Brazilian nursing to favor the consolidation of the Brazilian health system and strengthen the profession as a discipline that produces and consumes science.

The construction of interdisciplinary knowledge in this context requires from researchers a posture different from what is traditionally adopted. The need to develop new paradigms and methods, essential to ensure rigor and the reliability of knowledge generated requires one to renounce paradigms and methods already consolidated in various fields as well as the constitution of truly multi-disciplinary teams, which is a challenge to be overcome by research groups in Brazilian nursing education. Hence, another aspect that deserves attention is the difficulty in integrating teaching and practice within groups since most researchers and technicians exclusively work with teaching.

In summary, the establishment of 47 research groups in nursing education in Brazil in 2006 assumes an expressive number and consequent contribution in the production of knowledge in Latin America. However, many challenges need to be overcome such as a lack of inter-disciplinary cooperation, limited integration between practice and teaching, low funding support provided to the advancement of the field of nursing education and significant inequalities in the access and development of research in the different geographic regions of Brazil.

Finally, this study is limited by the fact that it portrays the context of research groups in nursing education from 2005 to 2006. Hence, further research is needed to address this topic in Brazil focusing on structured lines of research, the scientific publication of these groups as well as the possibility of performing a study similar to this one with data from the 2008 Census to draw a parallel evaluation of the development process of education in the nursing field.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to CNPq for the financial support provided to Research Groups in Nursing and Health Education – EDEN/Federal University of Santa Catarina, a concrete example of the importance of collective work based on the congregation of researcher professors, scholars and interested professionals.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    07 May 2012
  • Date of issue
    Apr 2012

History

  • Received
    08 July 2010
  • Accepted
    07 July 2011
Universidade de São Paulo, Escola de Enfermagem Av. Dr. Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar, 419 , 05403-000 São Paulo - SP/ Brasil, Tel./Fax: (55 11) 3061-7553, - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: reeusp@usp.br