Bernice G. Gulek, PhD, RN, APRN, ACNP

Location : Washington, USA


Can you give a short description of your nursing career? 

I started my nursing career as a Diploma Nurse, and I always knew that I will never stop learning. My first job was in Neurological Surgery acute care Registered Nurse at level one trauma center. I was fortunate enough to complete my Bachelor’s degree while I was a full time RN. In long story short neurosurgery/neuroscience became my niche. My clinical experience spans in acute care to outpatient and neurocritical care settings both as an RN and an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) over three decades. I am currently, practicing in neurocritical care setting as a clinician (ACNP) (Service), and just joined a University as an Adjunct Professor (Teaching), on the side still doing research on my own time over the last 7-years (Research). 

How did you get involved in nursing research? 

Since I was a little kid, I always wanted to understand how things worked and dove deep into the phenomena until it made sense in my mind. Of course, I did not realize this until I started my graduate work. I always believed in we all can bring value to this world as long as we do our due diligence. As I was working on my Bachelor’s degree, I had a very supportive physician colleagues (we had no in-service/systematic orientation programs, learnt things on the job), which was difficult to have on those days, they would answer many of my questions related to patient care in terms of explaining the diagnosis, pathophysiology of it and many other things. My curiosity with science always remained. So how is this related to research? Nurses are always natural researchers (even though we think we are not), we start with observing, then apply what we observe and translate the results for the patient care. As I graduated from my master’s degree, I promised to myself that I would pursue with a terminal degree, PhD, and even though took me very long time (about 10 years) I finally made the decision to start my doctoral degree and graduated in 2021. As soon as I started my terminal degree, I sought opportunities to involve in the systematic research process. I joined a professional society which provided me rich content among the multidisciplinary teams in national and international levels. In addition, attended multiple research conferences that led me to collaborate others in similar interest in conducting research. While I was working on doctoral work, I was also able to publish my collaborative work that I was involved in. My main goal in my research related work is to find an answer a clinical question - translational research that would yield to interventional studies to decrease suffering and provide services/comfort for those who are experiencing the disease state. 

What makes you passionate about research? 

The research process keeps me “ALIVE” whether it’s systematic research or something that I want to understand in a deeper level. Helps me “unlock” my potential, feeds my brain and my curiosity. Most importantly, gives me tools to express my thinking process and allows me to contribute to society at large. Helps me bring “value”, gives me perspective, helps me question my own “biases”, to be more constructive with myself and others, shapes my sense of reality. 

What advice would you give to someone thinking about joining clinical trials or research work? 

If you are already in the medical field, you are already a researcher, to hone your skills start small, join groups who are doing research, i.e., most hospital and departments always looking for a contributor. Get in touch with Nursing research department, connect with universities, or take a clinical problem that you want to answer and seek people who could join you. 

Look at things in a different angle, get out of your comfort zone (involve research not in field- such as psychology, engineering, math/data science). There are a lot of free resources to understand the research process, get to core of it by learning theoretical aspect of it. Connect with your colleagues, find a mentor (which was very difficult for me) and be patient with the process. Strengthen your analytical abilities by taking statistic course, attending boot camps, mathematics classes etc. Just focus on the answer, the brain is wired to short-circuit, so be mindful of that. And good luck, you are more than welcome to contact me any time. 

In addition, look at the research process from another angle, what do I mean by that? Yes, in a different angle, serve an institutional review board (IRB) in an academic center, school or wherever you have an opportunity. Joining IRB review board will provide perspective on “risk”, “beneficence” and “do no harm” on designing and carrying out the research.

Do you have any projects you are involved with or publications you want to share? 

I am always into looking new projects that I can join in my field as well as other fields. Please feel free to contact me if you are looking for a collaborator or interested in my line of work. 

Here is my profile in research gate:

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November 12, 2019


European Cancer Nursing Day 2020 falls in the WHO designated Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
European Oncology Nurses Society would like to give two talented cancer nurses – who can be nominated by themselves, their co-workers, managers or friends – special awards at the EONS13 Congress in recognition for the work that they do to reduce health inequalities and increase access to universal health care. If you would like to nominate any nurses for these awards, please send an email explaining the work that they do and why they should be awarded the ECND Strengthening Equality in Healthcare Award 2020 to by May 1st 2020.
Each winner will receive free travel, accommodation for three nights and registration to the EONS Congress in Madrid, September 19 to 21, 2020.


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