Clinical inquiry is the ongoing process of questioning and evaluating practice, providing informed practice based upon best-available data, and innovating practice though research. It is about noticing subtle differences at the bedside and asking “what if” questions.
Critically ill patients and their families require care that is based on our best-available evidence. In the quantitative research paradigm, the highest level of evidence is derived from randomized controlled clinical trials. Currently, few adequately powered clinical trials support our practice but this is changing. In critical care, clinical research should be conducted like we practice, collaboratively within multidisciplinary teams. Our core value of the primacy of patient and family, our spirit of inquiry, and passion for innovation centers our practice. During this year’s Distinguished Research Lecture, Martha Curley describes how together, we can build stronger, bolder clinical research.