45 Minutes with Jerome Cleofas - Nurse Sociologist

Aside from being known as the Lady of the Lamp, Florence Nightingale is also the first known Researcher in the Nursing Profession. This may be hard to believe since Nightingale’s era may be full of crude and obsolete research devices. This, however, didn’t stop the brilliance of Nightingale as her unpublished documents were discovered noting significant health data in the Crimean war. Fast forward to present time, the developments in nursing research have created an arena for health professionals to assess and reevaluate their health practice.

The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) states that “Nursing Research develops knowledge to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice, prevent disease and disability, manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, and enhance end-of-life and palliative care.” This is also reflected in all of the top universities in the Philippines as Research Professors and Associates maximize their research skills in honing undergraduate, post graduate, and faculty researches to attain international caliber.

This week we will feature Mr. Jerome Cleofas who is a Senior Research Associate in the SPU Manila Research Center.

Jerome Cleofas
Jerome Cleofas graduated with a BS in Nursing (cum laude) from Far Eastern University in 2007. He earned his Master of Arts in Nursing degree major in Clinical Management at St. Paul University Manila in 2010. He started working as a faculty member in 2009 in St. Paul University Manila as a Clinical Instructor in the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences teaching Fundamentals, MS, Pediatric and Community Health Nursing, and Nursing Theory, Ethics and Research in both BS and MA levels. He also taught research methods and academic writing to non-nursing classes. He has institutional, national and international publications.
He has presented in various nursing, health, social sciences and behavioral sciences conferences in the country and abroad. He advocates for interdisciplinary research in health and the social sciences, and is currently a member of the Institutional Ethics Review Committee of the university. He currently holds the position Senior Research Associate in the SPU Manila Research Center. At present, he is writing his dissertation to earn his PhD in Sociology, major in Family, Health and Population Dynamics at De La Salle University.

Let us know more about Mr. Cleofas as he narrates his experiences and responsibilities in his current position at the University research center.

Tell us briefly about your current position.

For the past two academic years, I have been working in the St. Paul University Manila Research center. I was the Research Associate for Special Projects and then Senior Research Associate during my first and second year respectively. Generally, my work involves research management and strategic planning for research for the university. I monitor the research activities of the faculty and the undergraduate students. The research center helps organize research capability sessions such as forums, conferences and trainings.

Our center also monitors research productivity vis-a-vis CHED requirements. I also coordinate the meetings of the institutional ethics review for all research studies done in the university. I peer-review articles for the institutional publications and assist the university researchers in finding venues to disseminate their findings. We also help in the research needs of the administration, especially those that are related to operations and accreditation. Our office also provides support to faculty members for their postgraduate theses and dissertations. All of these on top of faculty duties of teaching and writing research.

What does your work mean for you?

I am very thankful that God sent people who saw my potential in academic research and gave me opportunities to realize my passion for scholarly work. It is not unknown to many that BS Nursing programs in many schools in the country are experiencing crisis because of the sizeable deficit of enrollees. Because formal nursing training is both exhaustive and expensive, it is also a challenge to retain students while maintaining standards. This leads to an economic deterrent among colleges of nursing causing their professors to be displaced. I am very fortunate that because the university saw my interest to do research and stretch my disciplinary interests beyond nursing and health, I had a place to go when I got de-loaded in nursing.

Even if being a Research Associate is still a faculty status, I feel very pressured and challenged with the outputs required of my work. I know that many schools are still starting to embrace a research culture, so I am glad that with the help of our office, our university is starting to be more productive especially in the research aspect. It’s nice to see faculty members who get so excited about doing research. Every time a faculty member or a student gets their scholarly work published or gets a presentation stint in a distinguished research conference, I swell with pride at how slowly but surely, research is becoming a basic activity in our school. I foresee more challenges in the future, especially in the dawning of K to 12 and the ASEAN integration. But I think the best way to see these events is not as set-backs in research, but precursors to a stronger, globally competitive and research-oriented academia, not only in our local universities but also of other higher education institutions in the country.

What are your views on nursing research in the Philippines?

I honestly think that I am not in the position to really assess the state of nursing research in our country, as there are so many bigger names in the profession who have seen and learned more than I did. But I do think that nurses would agree that more research is done in the academe than those in actual practice. I feel that this may increase the gap between locally produced research and practice. I commend hospitals and health agencies that empower their nurses to do research, and I hope this replicates to other health organization. I am also glad that our country offers a lot of venues and forums for research to be disseminated.
Filipino nurses also have impressed international colleagues in international conferences. It’s also good that undergraduate and graduate theses are tackling on topics that matter, themes that are unique and methods that are complex. I have only two recommendations for nursing research: (1) look into the possibility of increasing the ASEAN consciousness of each study being conducted, and; (2) consider more interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches to research, collaborating not only with other health care team members, but also interacting with other non-health disciplines in the social and natural sciences.